Good ship Tory in trouble

Theresa May's Cabinet is not a happy ship as it ploughs through turbulent waters.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 4th July 2017, 10:28 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:28 am
1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA
1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

It is rare for the Tories to wash their dirty linen in public.

But that is what they are doing. But even with the Government’s cobbled together majority – with the aid of the Democratic Unionist Party – that majority is still by no means secure.

So it is asking for trouble for Cabinet members to vent their differences, to the increasing glee of Jeremy Corbyn and his party.

For a start, relations between the Prime Minister and Chancellor Philip Hammond are not of the best. Hammond is still smarting over his role in the disastrous general election campaign. He thought far more attention should have been paid to the state of the economy.

Meanwhile, David Davis, Brexit Secretary, has accused Hammond of inconsistent thinking over how long Britain would be tied to the European Union. There are also differences apparent about the cap on pay for public service workers, and that there should be a loosening of the Government’s tight hold on austerity. On top of all this, the Education Secretary, Justine Greening, is demanding £1bn for schools.

A basic rule of government is that the Cabinet should at least give the appearance of being united. The present Cabinet would score about two out of 10 on this premise. And differences between a Prime Minister and the Chancellor can lead to serious consequences. They should all remember that it was Nigel Lawson’s resignation as Chancellor that was one of the key factors leading to Margaret Thatcher’s downfall. Unless skipper Theresa May starts to import some discipline into her unruly crew, the good ship Tory could be heading for the rocks. 

- Those of us who have known Jeremy Corbyn over the years never dreamed he would one day be receiving the kind of wild acclamation usually reserved for pop stars. This has come about because Labour successfully tapped into the youth vote. Corbyn now seems to be established as the teenage idol – and I cannot think of any leading Tory who could drum up this level of latter-day Beatlemania.