Tory party’s fraying at the edges

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The Conservative Party is in a mess. It is fraying at the edges and is in urgent need of repair.

But it’s not just the Tories. Parliament itself has been caught up in the hysteria over so-called inappropriate behaviour. Even innocent acts of flirtation are being ridiculously magnified to the level of social crimes shunned by all decent-thinking people.

But while this goes on, the Conservatives have their own problems – most springing from the Prime Minister’s woeful decision to hold a general election last June. It cost more than a few Tories their seats, gave Jeremy Corbyn an unexpected boost, and engendered a feeling of resentment among Conservative Members.

And then with the resignation of Sir Michael Fallon, she gives his job as Defence Secretary to Gavin Williamson, the Chief Whip. Williamson has not, as Chief Whip and before that as David Cameron’s principal aide, made a Commons speech for about seven years. This appointment is a huge risk.

It will take a good deal more than sticking plaster to repair the damaged Tories. But they could at least start by demonstrating more unity, particularly within the Cabinet. Meanwhile Theresa May is clinging on – but her future at Number 10 is by no means assured.

- Theresa May’s political future is by no means secure, but what of Andrea Leadsom, the Leader of the House of Commons? Mrs Leadsom has found herself at the centre of the storm which led to the resignation of Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon. She is said to have complained to 10 Downing Street about an allegedly lewd joke that Sir Michael told her six years ago. That, it has been claimed, was the deciding factor in the downfall of Fallon.

Some have alleged that Mrs Leadsom acted in this way because she felt her own job was insecure in any reshuffle, and also because she resented Fallon once having described her as a “dud”. Pundits claim that by reportedly blowing the whistle, Leadsom has made herself unsackable. Balderdash. I am sure Theresa May would not regard Leadsom’s actions as making her immune for the chop if the Prime Minister wanted to dump her.