A Conservative backbencher has accidentally revealed instructions apparently sent by Rishi Sunak’s team to Tory MPs on how to post on social media to support the former chancellor in the party leadership race.
The prepared Twitter post, which came just two hours after Mr Sunak revealed he was standing for Tory leader, included a quote purporting to be from the MP posting it, pasted across that MP’s own photograph.
The instructions said: “If you’re happy, can you tweet and include the hashtag Ready4Rishi, and crucially the website Ready4rishi.com, and then your infographic below,” the suggestion read.
The identical quote that all posters were to use said: “I’m backing Rishi as he will tackle inflation, grow the economy and cut taxes.
“Rishi is why we have record low unemployment today. And that’s why he’s the best man to lead the country.”
Backbencher Paul Maynard accidentally tweeted a post that included the instructions – but quickly deleted the tweet and replaced it with a post as it was supposed to look.
Users mocked him, saying his first post, prepared by public-relations people, was better.
Earlier, just before Mr Sunak’s announcement, Mr Maynard invited Facebook followers in his Blackpool North and Cleveleys constituency to complete a survey on who they thought should be the next prime minister.
Stealing a march on rivals Jeremy Hunt, Liz Truss and Ben Wallace in throwing his hat into the ring, Mr Sunak cast himself as the fiscally responsible candidate, resisting the clamour for tax cuts.
He vowed to “restore trust” after Boris Johnson’s multiple scandals, hinting he would end “culture wars” if he became prime minister.