Security minister in coded ‘Private Pike’ dig at defence secretary
At least Ben Wallace didn’t threaten castration this time.
When the Mail on Sunday asked Ben Wallace whether he was considering resigning to trigger a leadership contest against Theresa May, the security minister (and good pal of Boris Johnson), protested his loyalty to the prime minister.
“I am doing the job I love. Which in politics is rare. The rows are something I couldn’t be less interested in,” he told hack Glen Owen.
But once the story was published, Wallace’s rebuttal took a rather different tone as he tweeted cryptically:
“There is something very Dad’s Army about the Mail on Sunday story that I’m resigning. I shall put the paper in the fireplace where it belongs.”
Why the sudden change of tone? The message was swiftly decoded by Tory insiders as a double-edged dig at Gavin Williamson, who was recently lectured by the Speaker about leaking to the papers.
Not only is the new defence secretary known by some Tory critics as Private Pike thanks to his lack of military experience, he has also recently acquired a second nickname – Poker – following colourful revelations about his time as a fireplace salesman in Yorkshire.
But it could have been worse. After Johnson and Michael Gove fell out last year, Wallace declared that "Michael seems to have an emotional need to gossip".
And he threatened to ensure that Gove suffered the same fate as a Game of Thrones character who was locked in a dungeon and castrated when he said of Gove: "He is actually Theon Greyjoy or will be by the time I am finished with him."
Picture by: John Stillwell/PA Wire/PA Images