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12th Dec 2018

The state of British politics: Watch two Tories refuse to talk to each other on live TV

Crisis? What crisis?

Oli Dugmore

Theresa May faces a leadership contest

Crisis? What crisis?

The Conservative party is about to hold a no confidence vote in Theresa May’s leadership.

If she wins the party cannot attempt to depose her for at least another year and her time at No 10 continues. If she loses a leadership contest is held that she cannot take part in.

Big names prepare their leadership bids, Theresa May makes her peace and MPs circulate through broadcasters’ tents giving interviews.

On the BBC’s set: Conservative MPs Andrew Bridgen and James Cleverly.

Bridgen has been calling for the prime minister’s resignation basically since day dot, becoming a meme on political Twitter often depicting him as trying to submit more than one letter of no confidence to the 1922 Committee.

Cleverly is a May cheerleader, recently made deputy chairman of the party. He knows how his bread is buttered.

As Bridgen’s interview with Victoria Derbyshire closed, Cleverly was brought in to give his smouldering take (‘let’s get behind the prime minister’).

A stony, awkward silence ensued. “I’m going to talk to your colleague now, Conservative MP James Cleverly, I gather that you don’t necessarily want to talk to each other.”

The pair proceed to shuffle around each other, as if the other has been diagnosed with a disease more horrific and contagious than leprosy.

Bridgen closes the scene: “I’ll go, if that’s fine.”

Derbyshire actually has to tell Cleverly to move into Bridgen’s spot, so appalled is he by his colleague.