Resignation spells trouble

It never rains but it pelts down.

Tuesday, 6th November 2018, 6:14 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th November 2018, 2:46 am
Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

That must have been the thought running through the Prime Minister’s mind over the calamitous events of the past week or two.

She was already up to her neck in Brexit and the fall-out from Philip Hammond’s controversial Budget, (where is all the money coming from?) when she found herself confronted by a hugely embarrassing ministerial resignation on her doorstep. This was far more serious than a run-of-the-mill resignation. Tracey Crouch (pictured) quit as Sports Minister over the Government’s delay in implementing a severe crackdown on fixed-odds betting machines, where you can currently stake up to £100 every 20 seconds. The plan is that this should be reduced to £2.

Crouch’s resignation has brought support for her, not merely from some Tory colleagues at Westminster, but from MPs of opposition parties, too.

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The scale of the criticism on this issue has certainly shocked the Government, although May has said there has been no delay.

But in the opinion of a furious Crouch and her supporters, this is hard to swallow.

There is no appetite for a nanny state, but it is certainly a fact that gambling addicts do need some protection afforded by the state.

We will soon see whether the state is listening.

- People have already started to speculate that David Davis, who resigned as Brexit Secretary, is making a subtle bid for the Conservative Party leadership, should Theresa May fall by the wayside. I find that hard to believe.

When some years ago he put up for the leadership, he was easily beaten by David Cameron for the job. A day or two after his defeat, I bumped into Davis at London’s Euston Station.

When I told him I was sorry about the outcome, he replied simply: “I’m not.”

Davis has many qualities, but his seemingly laid-back attitude leaves you with the distinct impression that leadership is not among those qualities. Indeed, many people take the view that he should have done much more table banging than he did when dealing with the Brussels negotiators.