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Carpetright magnate burns May over leadership

The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, once penned an article praising millionaire carpet magnate and academy school pioneer Philip Harris for his "overlooked heroism".
This morning, Mr Gove's boss may have uttered a very different assessment of the former deputy treasurer of the Conservative Party.The 74-year-old founder of the Carpetright chain - who has handed over plenty of his shagpile stockpile to the Tories as a major party donor - lambasts Theresa May in an interview with The Times as "weak" and "hopeless".The pro-Leave businessman hammers in tack after tack, accusing her of mishandling Brexit, failing to charm business and of paring back school budgets.
Carpetright magnate burns May over leadership

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Lord Harris of Peckham is hardly a household name, but his voice resonates loudly within the Conservative Party.A close friend of Mrs May's predecessor, this interview could be interpreted as a rebuke from the Cameroonian wing, to add to the daily editorial barbs published by George Osborne's Evening Standard.It's timing is also significant, coming just a few days after the Prime Minister signalled her intention to fight the next election - a remark which surprised even her staunchest supporters.It's what Lord Harris represents that makes these remarks potentially damaging.So far, the strongest support for the embattled leader has come from Brexiteers, heartened by her uncompromising stance on our impending departure from the EU.
Not only has arch-Leaver Lord Harris cleaved from the pack, he is also the kind of corporate titan the government wants to back its approach to Brexit - a process which is struggling, as reported by our own Mark Kleinman this week.His accusation of cutbacks within the schools system will also sting, as he is widely credited as making a success of the dozens of academies his Harris Federation supports.While many voters may rest their feet on one of Lord Harris's products, they're probably unfamiliar with the man himself.But this interview will echo within a party still smarting from June's electoral smackdown.It also comes just a few weeks before the Conservative Party conference, which it is hoped will signal a new unity of purpose.So far there has been no comment from Mrs May's army of special advisers.They are presumably still weighing the impact of Lord Harris' words.
news.sky.com
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