PM must crush this alliance of arrogance
POLITICAL parties die without discipline. Politicians tend to have large egos, and – if not restrained – can destroy their own movements by pursuing their own ambitions. Someone has to stop them.
And someone certainly should stop Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, now once again playing selfish power games as they try, with outrageous arrogance, to influence the Prime Minister’s approach to Brexit and force her on to a hard-line course, with all the risks that brings.
This is an alliance with an unhappy history, as Mr Gove and Mr Johnson can well remember from their dangerous and tricky days immediately after the referendum. If these two men cannot trust each other ( and we know they cannot), why should the Prime Minister or the Cabinet trust them?
Their behaviour is not merely irresponsible and trouble-making. It is an act of extraordinary impertinence.
Their action, in delivering a secret letter to Mrs May, in which honeyed words and quiet menace are mixed, in fact offers the Prime Minister and wiser heads in the Cabinet an opportunity. A crisis is often a good moment for decisive action, and this is such a moment.
The Prime Minister can justifiably say she cannot be expected to put up with two of her senior Ministers trying to drive the Government from the back seat, not just by offering unwanted advice but by making a grab for the steering wheel.
Such behaviour risks crashing the Government – an outcome that would benefit only Jeremy Corbyn.
Mrs May can reasonably ask all sensible Ministers, and all sensible Tory MPs – Remainers and Brexiteers alike – to back her vigorously. The stability and economic well-being of the country are at stake. The EU’s negotiators are playing their hand with hard determination and some skill. Time is slipping away as our final departure – now fixed – approaches fast. She should tell them she requires their help and support so she can take back control.
Despite the setbacks in the past few months, Mrs May still commands a healthy level of public support. She is stronger than people say, and stronger than she thinks she is.
She should now overcome her natural English reserve and put Mr Johnson and Mr Gove firmly back in their place.