Boris Johnson may have fallen at the last hurdle in the Tory leadership race after a kipper he waved around on stage moves ahead of him in the polls.
Throughout the Conservative leadership contest Johnson had been the bookmaker’s favourite to succeed Theresa May as the next person to fail to deliver Brexit, having seen off a range of other chancers over its multitude rounds.
Appearing at the final hustings on Wednesday night along with fellow candidate Jeremy Hunt, Mr Johnson took to the podium waving a kipper.
The smoked ex-herring was drafted in at the last minute for Boris to use as a prop to illustrate a factually inaccurate claim about the EU regulation of kipper packaging, but seems to have stolen the show.
Despite the limited appeal of a dead fish rotting under the warm lights of the Excel Centre, the kipper received the longest standing ovation of the night from the assembled Tory membership.
“The thing I want more than anything is to go back to how things used to be,” said one life long Conservative Party member.
“When I caught a whiff of that rancid fish, it took me right back to my childhood after the war.
“We had rationing you know, and some days all we would have to eat was a kipper that my father had wrestled from the jaws of a feral cat.
“But you don’t see them nowadays do you, feral cats, that’s because the EU killed them and gave their baskets to the immigrants, it said so in The Daily Mail.
“I knew right there and then that Boris would just have to try again next time and I’d be voting for that kipper.”
Appearing on News Night later, the kipper professed to not having a clue what to do about Brexit either, but shot ahead in the polls after telling Kirsty Wark that it thought Jeremy Corbyn was a Marxist anti-Semite who would nationalise all the hedge funds.