Rory Stewart Roasts Boris Johnson In Perhaps The Best Resignation Speech Ever

Joshua AitkenJoshua Aitken in News, UK
Published 08.10.19

Earlier this year, Rory Stewart was politics’ answer to David and Goliath as he stood to be leader of the Conservative Party (and, you know, the country). Only this story didn’t quite end like it did in 1 Samuel 17.

Stewart finished in 5th place beating Brexiteer heavyweights Dominic Raab and Andrea Leadsom but failing to beat fellow “one nation” (more liberal) Conservative Jeremy Hunt.

Since then though, it’s been downhill for the MP for Penrith and the Border. Things began to look bad when Boris Johnson won the contest, standing on a more aggressive Brexit policy and leaning further to the right than Stewart. Soon enough, Stewart lost the “party whip” (aka he was kicked out of the party) when he voted against the government in a crucial vote to block a no-deal Brexit. But now he’s hit back at his ex-leader.


What did Rory Stewart say about Boris Johnson?

While he was kicked out of the parliamentary party, Stewart was still technically a Conservative as he still paid for membership to the party. Now, he’s finally cancelled his membership and done so in a pretty spectacular fashion.

In an event at the Royal Albert Hall, the 46 year old took to the stage to read a letter written to Boris Johnson’s dad, Stanley, from Eton College (Boris’ school) about his behaviour in 1982. It really is worth a watch:

…Okay so it isn’t actually Stewart’s resignation, that arrived a couple of moments earlier in the day. Even so, this is pretty savage. The former leadership hopeful quoted Boris’ “disgracefully cavalier attitude” in Classical Studies.


What did he say in his resignation speech?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s funny enough finding an old school report, but Stewart then took the sly dig to a whole new level. He continued to read: “Boris sometime seems affronted when criticised for what amounts to a gross failure of responsibility” *cough* suspending parliament *cough*. But don’t worry… it gets even better!

“I think he honestly believes that it is childish of us not to regard him as an exception: one who should be free from the network of obligation which binds everyone else”.

Still don’t get it? Let me explain. Basically every quote Stewart is using the letter to make a judgement about Boris’ leadership of the country. The “disgracefully cavalier attitude” will likely be a scathing criticism of the government’s negotiation strategy with the EU. He then hits out at the sleuth of unaddressed criticism of Johnson in the media, suggesting he’s “affronted” by it all. And then there’s the big hit… Stewart insinuates that Boris is unable to follow the rules everyone else does, which given the recent Supreme Court ruling really is a blow and a half.


This all happened after Rory Stewart revealed the reason he left the party: to stand for election as Mayor of London. Having been deselected as a Conservative candidate, Stewart has to stand as an independent candidate, but paying membership to a political party doesn’t particularly scream “independent” so to stand he had to withdraw his membership. Now he’s formally in the race to challenge Labour’s Sadiq Kahn, Conservative Shaun Bailey, and a collection of other candidates.

The real question is, will he follow in the footsteps of his adversary, the prime minister himself, and be elected mayor… and then… PM? Seems very unlikely to me, but then again we’ve had crazier…

Images via Getty