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Rory Stewart looks to launch campaigning organisation if Boris Johnson becomes PM

Ben Gartside
Reporter
Rory Stewart was eliminated from the race to become the next Conservative party leader but impressed many with his candid road shows and clear debating style. Photo: Matt Dunham/AP

International development secretary and former Conservative party leadership candidate Rory Stewart is set to continue his campaign to prevent a no deal and “unite” a Britain divided by Brexit, sources have told Yahoo Finance UK.

The campaigns would materialise in the form an organisation if Boris Johnson leaves Stewart out of Cabinet on becoming the next prime minister as is widely expected.

Discussions have occurred among Stewart’s top team about how to continue the momentum he had built during the leadership campaign, including discussions over whether senior staff would join and how the organisation or group would be set up.

Stewart, who won plaudits for his grassroots campaign and divergent campaign strategy, is expected to be shunned by Conservative leadership frontrunner Johnson, if selected as leader of Conservative party. While Stewart’s team are said to be holding out for a foreign policy related role under a potential Hunt government (either continuing in international development or a potential promotion into the foreign office), plans are being prepared in case Stewart returns to the back-benches.

One source close to the international development secretary underlined the plan for Stewart to “attack Boris [Johnson’s] lies over the reality of Brexit” and go to the places in the UK likely to be most affected by a hard Brexit, like Middlesborough.

Stewart’s spokesperson was eager to state that he would not be fronting a single issue campaign over no-deal Brexit. Other sources close to Stewart have suggested that a future organisation would be a continuation of his “Rory walks series.”

Stewart has been in discussions with a new research group fronted by Phillip Hammond, which is set to try and oppose a no-deal Brexit. Hammond, along with Dominic Grieve and Ken Clarke, is looking to set up a rival group to the eurosceptic European Research Group, but Stewart is not set to take a leading role within it.