The truth is that no matter how significant a persons role is, ultimately if they are no longer confident in their ability to carry out the work involved, then forcing them to remain in post is a mistake. Just over a year ago our Prime Minister having dragged the country through a poorly planned and ill thought out referendum based on an inadequate question chose to resign. His resignation left others to deal with the problems he had caused and at some stage he needs to publicly acknowledge the cost to society of his incompetence. The same is true of his co-driver George Osborne who had the temerity to appear on Marr and accuse Mrs May of being a dead woman walking. An appalling phrase to use of anyone, particularly someone who has ended up picking up the pieces after you and your chum have caused the system to be broken. The decision by Theresa May to stand as Prime Minister was one that her husband admitted had been part of her game plan for some time. Although she had little warning, it was clear that she did not have much of a plan for the role. However choosing not to get the nations endorsement for her new role is one of the many mistakes that she has made in the last 9 months. However when we were in the election which Theresa May called on 19th April, a very clear focus emerged which some have blamed on Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill and others on Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor. That focus was Mrs May herself. As I wrote on Friday, many MPs published election material with the phrase ‘standing with Theresa May’ in prominent view. In her case the ‘Strong and Stable’ motto appeared on many occasion with no reference to the Conservative Party name. Throughout their campaign the focus was on the importance of electing Theresa May over Jeremy Corbyn, an argument that was adopted by most broadcasters. I found this deeply disturbing because each of us gets a chance to elect one MP. It takes 326 MPs from the same party to form a majority government and then for the party leader to become Prime Minister. Whatever the tactics, the truth is only around 70,000 people out of 67,000,000 people had the opportunity to vote for Theresa May or Lord Buckethead. The rest of us were faced with an entirely different choice. However the final result of the election poured even more scorn on the campaign slogan.
Last night at the first meeting of the Conservative 1922 committee since the election, Mrs May is widely reported to have said “I got you into this mess” and “I will get you out of it” but she made it clear that she would only do so if she had their support and if they did not support her she would resign as Party Leader. If this is what was said, there are two concerns that immediately spring to mind. Of course it is lovely that she was willing to be humble in front of her party colleagues, but what about a bit of humility in front of the public as a whole? The second is that she implies that whilst all of us were invited to vote for her as an alternative to Jeremy Corbyn, she is suggesting that 317 MPs get to decide whether she stays or goes. That is less than a week since her campaign won the majority of votes. So in other words she is willing to stand up and call for around 40M people to vote for her one week and the following week is inviting 317 people to make a decision regarding whether she sees that through or not. This is not like Cameron who had decided he could not stay, it is someone who believes she is the best for the country, and whose campaign has won the popular support of the country, saying that if 200-300 MPs decide she is toxic, she will go.
However long Theresa May lasts as our Prime Minister, let us hope that at future General Elections we are told the truth, that our vote is for our MP and if enough of us vote for MPs from the same party, that this will ensure that their party leader becomes Prime Minister. We live in a Parliamentary democracy, not a Presidential one.