Chris Grayling sees himself as a 'lightning rod for the anti-Brexit brigade'
Not everyone is buying Grayling's explanation for why he always gets criticised.
Why is Chris Grayling - aka Westminster's answer to Mr Bean - so often depicted as the Cabinet’s most hapless minister?
Could it be because the transport secretary recently declared that he was not "a specialist in rail matters"?
Is it because he once dismissed the hiring of General Sir Richard Dannatt as a “political gimmick” on live TV - before being told it was not actually a stunt but a Tory one?
Or maybe because when he leapt out of his ministerial car without looking and knocked a cyclist off his bike?
Not quite, says the cabinet minister in an interview with The House magazine. Rather, he believes he’s being demonised by pesky unions and Remainers who use him as a lightning rod:
“The railways need to modernize. So, inevitably, from an organized left-wing trade union, you’re going to get some missiles fired…
“And that’s similar with some people who want to have a go because I’m pro-Brexit. A lot of people out there want to frustrate the democratic will of the British people who voted to leave the EU and because I’m a prominent Brexiteer in the Cabinet who backs the Prime Minister’s deal I’m a lightning rod for the anti-Brexit brigade.”
Alas not everyone has bought Grayling’s claim that he’s a lightning rod.
As Times hack Matt Chorley put it: “If Grayling is the lightning rod you can be pretty sure that the spire will be hit and the church will burn down.”