Never mind Boris, Cameron should fear IDS

The Prime Minister would be justified in being alarmed by the formidable array of big-hitters that have defied his pro-European stance and opted instead to side with Brexit, which is committed to the UK's severance from the EU.
1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA
1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

They include two ex-Conservative Party leaders, Lord (Michael) Howard and Iain Duncan Smith, Work and Pensions Secretary, former Chancellor Lord Lawson and Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary, among others. And Duncan Smith is furious that he is being denied by his own officials a sighting of relevant Government papers.

But is David Cameron attaching too much importance to Boris Johnson’s decision to side with Brexit? Many regard Johnson as an agreeable buffoon, whose decision to join the battle has more to do with his alleged desire to become Tory leader. Johnson, with his comical pudding-basin haircut and ready wit, is a source of public amusement.

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But would the Conservative hierarchy want this man as their leader? I think not. Nor do I believe the great British electorate will be much influenced by his intervention.

The man Cameron should fear most is Duncan Smith, who was a constant thorn in the flesh of the then Prime Minister, John Major, over Europe. He has indicated he is willing to get sacked over this issue.

Meanwhile, are the pro-Europeans getting rattled? Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has already sworn at a prominent Brexit figure.

In short, there will be oceans of political blood flowing on the carpets in the House of Commons between now and June 23.

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Mixed messages for the Chancellor, George Osborne, concerning his forthcoming Budget.

We hear that the International Monetary Fund is praising the UK’s recovery. And then, we read Osborne is planning more big cuts.

Of course, our wily politicians are not above making a forthcoming Budget sound grim, so that when it is delivered, it will be seen as something approaching a bonanza.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who is proving far more effective than many suspected he would, has castigated the Chancellor. Come Budget Day, we will discover who is right and who is wrong – and, more importantly, who is telling the truth.