Rory Stewart may be rising as one of the bookie’s favourites to be the next Prime Minister, but it’s not his policies people are talking about: it’s his tie.
Why? During the BBC’s Conservative leadership TV debate, Our Next Prime Minister, Stewart removed his neck tie. And Twitter, being as understated as ever, couldn’t resist commenting on his sartorial swap.
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Best thing about this debate so far is the way @RoryStewartUK is sitting on his chair and how he took his tie off a third of the way through the debate #OurNextPrimeMinister pic.twitter.com/MOJviwsjEb
— Louisa Compton (@louisa_compton) June 18, 2019
— Josh Trood (@JoshTrood) June 18, 2019
They've all ganged up on Rory and nicked his tie! #OurNextPrimeMinister
— avichau (@avichau1) June 18, 2019
Unfortunately, Stewart didn’t tie it around his head Rambo-style for the rest of the debate, but he did catch the eyes of audiences again with his strange seating style.
— Niall McGarry (@MrNiallMcGarry) June 18, 2019
— DIMBLEBOT (@DIMBLEBOT) June 18, 2019
— Hayley Dixon (@HayleyDeee) June 18, 2019
— Lee Parker (@Leemparker) June 18, 2019
So, what was the meaning behind it all? Was his tie and sitting choices a clever tactical move? As some point out, Stewart was the only candidate not wearing a microphone on his tie at the start of the debate, which might suggest he always intended to remove it to get himself trending on Twitter. Was it a genius PR move after all?
No, he was just ruddy uncomfortable.
That’s according to Stewart himself, who told BBC Radio 5 Live it wasn’t a “cunning plan”.
"That was not my cunning plan"
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) June 19, 2019
And when asked by Newsnight, Stewart said: “I thought maybe if I took my tie off we could get back to a bit of reality.
“I was beginning to feel on those strange BBC white bar stools that we were moving off into an alternate reality.”
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) June 18, 2019
So, there you have it: to become the talk of social media, all the Tory candidates need to do is remove a piece of clothing. A strategy we’re really hoping doesn’t escalate too far in the next debate.