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Five odd things that happened in the Tory leadership race today

The contest continued to throw up surprises.

Secretary of State for International Development Rory Stewart with the Number 10 cat Larry (David Mirzoeff/PA)
Secretary of State for International Development Rory Stewart with the Number 10 cat Larry (David Mirzoeff/PA)

The race to replace Theresa May at Number 10 took a series of bizarre twists as candidates launched their leadership bids.

– Mark Harper was forced to address one of the weightiest issues facing any new prime minister: who would win a fight between a lion and a bear?

At his “ask me anything” launch event, he said: “On the basis that the lion is the symbol of Britain, I’m going to say the lion.”

– Daytime TV star Lorraine Kelly said she was “baffled” by Esther McVey’s claim that she was promoted above her at GMTV and took aim at the presenter-turned-politician’s policy platform, saying: “I strongly disagree with her on LGBT rights.”

– Former Commons leader Andrea Leadsom reignited her feud with Speaker John Bercow, brandishing a sign saying “Bollocks to Bercow” at a lunch in Westminster.

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Andrea Leadsom makes her feelings about Commons Speaker John Bercow clear (PA)

A “Bollocks to Brexit” sticker has been spotted on Mr Bercow’s wife Sally’s car in Westminster.

– Sajid Javid launched a slick promotional video, setting out his personal journey from being the son of a Pakistani immigrant bus driver to holding one of the great offices of state.

But a lot of the focus was on Mr Javid’s pet dog Bailey.

Even political opponents took notice, with Labour’s Darren Jones asking: “Where’s the bit of the video with Saj putting up his personal painting of Margaret Thatcher in his office? I must have been distracted by the cute dog.”

– Bailey was not the only pet on parade – Rory Stewart was seen making friends with his potential new cat, Number 10’s Larry, as the International Development Secretary arrived for Cabinet.

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Rory Stewart with Larry outside 10 Downing Street (David Mirzoeff/PA)

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