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How These 10 Tory MPs Would Do On 'The Apprentice'

Forget reality, this is the important Conservative leadership challenge.

by Louis Staples
13 December 2018, 1:57pm

Screenshot: BBC 

Now on its 14th season, The Apprentice is a yearly showcase of the most atrocious people the UK has to offer. It is a contest where the ability to construct ludicrous soundbites and stab people both in the back and the front are prized over lowlier attributes, such as actual talent or vague competency. With this in mind, it was unsurprising to stumble across a Twitter thread this week that compared several Tory MPs to candidates on the show.

Politics and The Apprentice have a lot in common, not least because host Alan Sugar and his assistant Karren Brady are members of the House of Lords. Despite "Prime Minister Sugar" seeming like a pretty unlikely proposition right now, the sharks have been circling Theresa May, who last night survived a vote of no confidence, but will no doubt be replaced in the fairly immediate future.

With the parallels between The Apprentice and Westminster appearing increasingly obvious, and a leadership challenge imminent, this is the definitive account of how Theresa's Tories would fare as candidates.

PRITI PATEL

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Photo: Policy Exchange, via / CC By 2.0

Her vibe: Priti Patel must have been an Apprentice candidate in a former life. She's sculpted by the hand of God specifically for those promo clips where contestants stomp through Canary Wharf in immaculate business-wear saying stuff like, "I'm a silent killer, I don't care what I have to do to win."
Her business plan: Priti's business would likely have something to do with privatising something essential relating to a group that can't defend itself. She'd probably want to charge babies a birth tax, then ask them to repay through Wonga-style loans.
She would be fired for: Priti would make it to the halfway point, but would be fired for arranging lots of secret meetings behind the project manager's back.

MICHAEL GOVE

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Photo: Parliament portrait

His vibe: Michael Gove is also tailor-made for the show. King of knifing and scheming, but also of saying both everything and nothing at all. I can imagine him fawning over the demagogue Lord, looking up at him doe-eyed, hanging onto his every word while being his "stubborn best" in the boardroom and gradually making a home for himself an inch or so into Sugar's anal canal.
His business plan: Michael loves the fisheries more than most of us love our parents, the sun and McDonald’'s combined. After Brexit, he wants to open a chain of high street fishmongers, free from the shackles of EU law.
He would be fired for: Ever the manipulator, Michael would make it quite far in the show due to a slew of successful backstabs on project managers. However, the interviewers would see right through him and he'd be sent packing in fifth place.

ANDREA LEADSOM

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Photo: Parliament portrait

Her vibe: Andrea would probably be one of those contestants who, despite most of our better judgement, we'd all secretly love. After taking a career break from finance to raise a family, she'd be a total blast from the past – camp as Christmas with pearls and one-liners aplenty. As project manager in the first week she'd encourage the women on her team to "show a little leg and put on some lippy" to boost sales.
Her business plan: Not sure why, but can imagine Andrea going down the food route. Perhaps a book of 70s-inspired microwave meals? Her signature dish is ham and bananas hollandaise.
She would be fired for: As sub team leader in an advertising task, her promo would contain an outdated racial stereotype that most people have known was unacceptable for at least 20 years. Lord Sugar would love it, but the BBC's producers would intervene, seeing her fired "with regret". After her exit, Rod Liddle would defend her actions in the Spectator.

KAREN BRADLEY

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Photo: Parliament portrait

Her vibe: Karen would be one of the most incompetent contestants on the show, developing Stockholm Syndrome with each and every project manager, no matter how disastrous their decisions were. She'd also do as told, no matter how stupid the instructions were, rarely using her brain to ascertain whether something was a good idea.
Her business plan: Something that was invented a long time ago, like a can opener or "the greeting card".
She would be fired for: Karen would be fired in week two for completely misunderstanding the point of a task.

DOMINIC RAAB

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Photo: Parliament portrait

His vibe: Dominic would come across as a smooth-talking, overconfident moron, absolutely true to real life. He'd talk himself up as a master negotiator and say things like, "I've practically got a licence to print money," and, "I'm cool and collected, but don’t even think about crossing me."
His business plan: Employing blind orphans to personalise blue passports in tube stations, paying them pennies after the post-no deal Brexit abolition of the minimum wage.
He would be fired for: Dominic would be PM during the "negotiation" task, where a list of items have to be purchased for the least money. After negotiating a terrible deal, he’d storm off and blame someone else.

BORIS JOHNSON

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Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, via / Open Government License v1.0

His vibe: Always the sub team leader, never the PM. Part-baby-part-man, Boris would be a chaotic mess but annoyingly good TV and an extremely GIF-able contestant. Pitching and selling would be his strength, but he'd be all style and no substance. Various women would sell stories about their flings with BoJo to The Sun, and he'd use the tabloid attention to leverage a spot on I'm a Celeb... the following year.
His business plan: An American-style school bus service for Britain's private schools, with big red Brexit buses.
He would be fired for: After misleading the general public in a sales task and losing the loyalty of his team mates, he would resign just as Lord Sugar was about to fire him.

ESTHER MCVEY

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Photo: Parliament portrait

Her vibe: Esther would have quite an old-school approach to business. She’d say things like "blondes may have more fun, but if you underestimate me, I'll destroy you" with an eerily deadpan expression on her face. Similar to Katie Hopkins, an on-screen romance might be on the cards for Esther, leading to a public boardroom breakup when she knifes him to save herself.
Her business plan: Inspired by Patel's insanely right-wing business strategy, Esther would pitch a private bounty hunter-style benefits fraud service called "Universal Beheaded".
She would be fired for: Esther would miss out on a spot in the final after a disastrous interview in which she admits investors would almost certainly lose money.

LIZ TRUSS

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Photo: Parliament portrait

Her vibe: Liz would be fairly quiet for the first few weeks, sitting in the background and working everyone out. She would often come across as the "complainer", criticising the PM's decisions without offering much of an alternative.
Her business plan: British cheese sold and delivered via iPhone app. Slogan: "Cheese you can Truss."
She would be fired for: Liz would get pretty far, possibly to the final two. Ultimately, she’d lack creative flair and be seen as more of a numbers gal.

BEN BRADLEY

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Photo: Parliament portrait

His vibe: Ben's storyline would be that of the grafter who "hustles" his way to the sale – or so he says. He’d probably be good at the "making" tasks, but a bit clumsy on actual strategy. He’d say "mate" and "fuck" a lot and talk over female contestants continually, getting in trouble for "laddy" banter.
His business plan: His business plan and CV would be riddled with basic spelling errors. His business would be inspired by his experience of building his mum’s extension without planning permission in the summer of 2009.
He would be fired for: Bragging he's a top salesman then selling absolutely nothing. He’d also get in trouble for making false, libellous claims about Francis, Lord Sugar's long suffering receptionist.

GAVIN WILLIAMSON

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Photo: Parliament portrait

His vibe: Gavin would be the classic beta male, loveable goof-ball who'd need to prove he could stand on his own two feet and hold his own in the business world. Make no mistake, though, as a former Chief Whip he'd know where all your skeletons were buried.
His business plan: As a big fan of Instagram, he’d take his love for social media and selfies into founding a new dating site for "compassionate conservatives and those who admire them".
He would be fired for: Out of this bunch, Gavin would probably be hired. His most memorable moment would be telling Claude to "go away and shut up" in his final five interview, though he’d turn on the charm offensive for the final task, edging out "Truss’s Cheese" to secure the investment.

@LouisStaples