Candidates trying to show ‘superpower’ in bid to be new Tory leader

Candidates trying to show ‘superpower’ in bid to be new Tory leader

Environment secretary Michael Gove was said to have "adopted the tone of a headmaster"

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

All the Tory leadership hopefuls are trying “to present with a different superpower”, a body language expert has said.

Judi James described health secretary Matt Hancock of trying to be “a fighter”, while Michael Gove had the “tone of a headmaster” during their husting events.

Despite Mr Hancock’s attempt to be “a fighter”, Ms James suggested that he had copied his gestures from former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

She told talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright: “They are all trying to present with a different superpower as to why they should be in charge of Brexit.

“[Matt Hancock] was going for fighter. It was hugely incongruent. His gesticulations were borrowed from the Tony Blair handbook.

“He had almost cut and pasted them onto his own body. We got a displayed chest that should have implied a fighter but we got that coupled with nervous eyes.”

Ms James described Mr Hancock as using “the precision chop that Blair always used to do”.

So far three other MPs - Esther McVey, Dominic Raab and Jeremy Hunt - have also hosted events in attempts to persuade colleagues to back them.

Certain gestures of Mr Raab were suggested to be “a sign of disgust”.

“The problem with Dominic is that he looks like a nice guy and he did look quite nervous,” Ms James said.

“He has got these tough statements and then he kept sucking his lips in and using a tongue poke - where you stick the top of your tongue out - it is a sign of disgust or rejection.  

“He said we needed ‘leadership with conviction’ but when he said it, he was reading off his script. If you are going to use a powerful phrase like that, look up.”

Ms McVey and Mr Hunt were also accused of reading off their scripts by Ms James. 

Speaking about Ms McVey, the body language expert said: “The one thing she is good at is speaking normally but she had her script on the table so what that meant was that she kept looking down and her hair was covering her face.”

She added: “[Michael Gove] adopted the tone of a headmaster. It was almost as if he was telling us off from a position of righteousness. He was chest-thumping to seem like an alpha.”

The other leadership contenders are expected to give their debut speeches later this week.

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