Sketch: Stephen Crabb on unity, opportunity and rugby

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Stephen Crabb who is standing to become the next leader of the Conservative Party. Picture by Chris Radburn/PA Wire.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Stephen Crabb who is standing to become the next leader of the Conservative Party. Picture by Chris Radburn/PA Wire.
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AFTER weeks of turmoil and doom, the image of Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb calling for unity and opportunity was remarkably refreshing.

Although he had chosen to stand against a backdrop that looked more at home in a municipal leisure centre, and although he kept the press waiting beyond fashionably late, and ALTHOUGH he very awkwardly called out journalists names during a question and answer session...I’ll let him off because I had a thoroughly uplifting morning.

Stephen Crabb, the council estate boy who now wants to be Tory PM

For just one hour only there was no more referendum scrapping, no more rehearsed and rehashed arguments on the EU and gimmicks....here we were, members of the press, being served up brand Stephen Crabb Ltd for the first time and he was looking to the future. As MPs backing him slipped silently, or very loudly, into the room there was a real buzz that the selection race for a new Prime Minister is now underway.

Now rule number one of a leadership launch is choose a room so small that people have to cram themselves in, therefore your popularity is undeniable. At a hired room in the Royal Society of Arts off The Strand there was barely enough room to swing a cat.

Rule number two for any male politician wanting to lead the country is to talk about sport...convincingly.

As a rugby player himself, he got the room chuckling about not just waiting for the ball to pop out of the scrum but fighting for it.

And while he is little known to your average man on the street, helpfully he actually is “from the streets”, born and brought up in a council estate. Something the Tories haven’t seen in leadership for a very long time.

The race for power just got very interesting.