On Tuesday, the former Conservative MP Rory Stewart won GQ’s Politician of the Year award. It was probably the best part of the week for Stewart, who has had the Conservative whip removed and been roundly mocked after posting a series of photographs on Twitter, in which his typical grinning selfie smile disappeared when he was next to one particular individual:
— Rory Stewart (@RoryStewartUK) August 29, 2019
It was then revealed that Rory shares the modern affliction of caring deeply about his online presence, clearly liking one image on his website so much that he named it ‘best-pic.jpg’.
Rory’s relationship with the camera was then questioned again, when it emerged that he, unlike the majority of MPs, has no picture on the UK parliament website. Was it indicative of his alleged time on Her Majesty’s Secret Service? Is there some bizarre section of the Official Secrets Act that means Parliament can’t publish his photograph on the division lists?
In fact, Mr S suspects the truth is much simpler: Rory simply doesn’t like his official Parliamentary portrait released in 2017. An employee of the Wikipedia-managing charity, Wikimedia Foundation, told Mr Steerpike that they:
‘had Rory Stewart’s PA hassling me six to eight months ago to get his official parliamentary photo removed from Wikipedia because he thought it wasn’t very flattering.’
They added that ‘the man just needs to accept that he looks a bit like Dobby the House Elf.’
This seems to be backed up by the talk page on Rory’s Wikipedia entry, where a user notes that ‘I’ve previously replaced a photo after an email saying the MP dislikes it and offering an alternative.’ Mr S has approached Stewart’s office for comment.
But owing to the licence under which the photograph was released, it remains on Wikimedia, free for anyone to use – so Mr S is delighted to be able to share the offending picture, in all of its wonky collar glory here: