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Back page gossip from the 20 September issue of Research Fortnight.

Rise and fall As grassroots Conservatives continue their search for candidates to replace Theresa May as prime minister, the name of the anti-abortion, anti-gay-marriage, anti-nappy-changing MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has emerged. It is easy to mock, as illustrated by Labour MP Chris Leslie, who warned that the Brexit bill tabled by the government could open the way for someone such as “the honourable member for the 18th century from Somerset” to exercise the sweeping powers it granted, were he to be prime minister.

Do your homework With the exception of the Johnson brothers, whose CVs include stints as journalists, ministers seem to struggle to write speeches on time. Robbie Gibb, appointed as the PM’s communications chief after the general election mishap, has been chasing down ministers to ensure they file drafts of their precious conference speeches three weeks before the event, but several have already said that is not going to happen. “We are a long way from having anything that looks like a speech,” a senior minister is said to have told The Times.

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