I went into the leadership contest saying he would be the most awful Prime Minister before he beat me. Because I'd worked with him very closely. All the things that you understand, anyone watching this understands, about what makes a good boss, one of the central things is telling the truth. You can't lead a team if people don't know what you believe, if what you say and what you do are separated, you just can't inspire, you can't motivate, you can't lead. And I just feel so sad. I spent a lot of time going over the world, looking at countries that are broken. They're broken because people can't trust their leaders. In this country we used to have some trust.
They won't make basic decisions. They won't cut, for example, VAT on fuel which is crucial to people's lives. And the reason they can't make decisions is they're fighting, day by day, these headlines.
The whole of Downing Street is just about one thing, which is the survival of the Prime Minister. They're sacrificing everything, the country, the party, their careers, to try to keep this monstrous ego floating around in Downing Street.
One of his tricks is that he makes everything seem small. A classic example is when we were working in the Foreign Office. We had a big problem with the Kenyan elections. The Supreme Court had been shut up with guns. We had all agreed a policy where we were going to be tough with the Kenyan Prime Minister. And then I read on Twitter 'Foreign Secretary congratulates Kenya on a perfect election'. And I go in to see him and I say 'What have you done? We've just wasted all this time, issuing a statement, this is a big, big international policy thing'. 'Oh I'm so sorry Rory, I was just on my way to a meeting, just caught me on the phone. Sorry I said this'.
And the problem is, with that, as with everything else, he says 'Oh, I'm so sorry, just a small thing', and you end up feeling like sort of a grieved partner or wife. Because what he's not taking on board is there are hundreds of these things. Every time it's like 'Oh, it's just some small thing, just one party, one cake, one leaving party, one prorogation of Parliament, one lobbying scandal, one wallpaper problem', but they mount up. To make our country feel like Berlusconi's Italy.
26 May 2022 – Rory Stewart, Conservative MP from 2010 to 2019, served as Minister for the Environment, Minister of State for International Development, Minister of State for Africa, Minister of State for Prisons and Secretary of State for International Development