Ken Clarke Tory leader comments: Sir Malcolm Rifkind ‘hugely amused’ by on-camera remarks

'I’m delighted to have made my own personal contribution'

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Sir Malcolm Rifkind has said he is “hugely amused” after being caught on camera with former Conservative Cabinet minister Ken Clarke ridiculing candidates in the party’s leadership contest.

It comes after the former colleagues – apparently unaware they were being filmed –  said that Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary, was so right-wing he would likely start wars with “at least three countries” and that Mr Clarke did not really think Andrea Leadsom, the energy minister, wanted to leave the EU.

Asked for his reaction to the video, Sir Malcolm Rifkind told to The Independent that he was “hugely amused” by the off-camera conversation at the Sky News studio. 

“And I’m delighted to have made my own personal contribution,” he added, laughing.

“I watched it obviously… you can hardly make out what I’m saying unless you read the transcript. Of course the camera was on Ken, not me.”

Asked about his comments on Tory hopeful Michael Gove, he replied: “I made some words to that effect. I’m not sure I can embellish it. What I said speaks for itself and it’s probably shared by a far greater proportion of mankind.”

“It’s good entertaining stuff.

“People may say it’s a bit naughty of them [Sky News] but I think under the circumstances it is the world we live in – I make no complaint at all”.

Mr Clarke told his former colleague Mr Rifkind that Theresa May was a “bloody difficult woman”, that Michael Gove was so right-wing he would likely start wars with “at least three countries” and that he did not really think Andrea Leadsom wanted to leave the EU.

Mr Clarke said Mr Gove had views so extreme that he had even caused neoconservative Liam Fox to “raise eyebrows” when exposed to them.

“I remember being in a discussion once about something we should do about Syria or Iraq and [what Michael Gove said] was so wild I remember exchanging looks with Liam Fox – who’s much more right wing than me,” he said.

“Even Liam was raising eyebrows. I think with Michael as Prime Minister we’d go to war with at least three countries at once.”

He however added: “He did us all a favour by getting rid of Boris.” Mr Rifkind, the former MP for Kensington who was party to the conversation, said that he would like anyone except Mr Gove to win the contest.

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