Tory MPs turn on Gavin Williamson as Labour takes poll lead
The defence secretary stands accused of 'running to the papers with childish threats'.
A week after Conservative MPs lined up to take pot shots Christopher Chope, it is already time for a new person to step into the Tory firing line.
Doing the not-so-decent thing this weekend was Gavin Williamson, with Mail on Sunday splashing on reports that the defence secretary has threatened to topple the prime minister unless defence spending is increased by £20bn. Most hubristically, Williamson - who ran May’s leadership campaign in 2016 - is said to have told defence chiefs: "I made her – and I can break her."
While allies of Williamson have insisted he was not behind the story, one senior Tory still vented their spleen to PoliticsHome:
“The party is furious at this intervention that clearly comes straight from the horse's mouth… Williamson's intemperate and frankly bizarre media posturing shows just how unsuited he is for any high office whatsoever.
“He's clearly overpromoted and thinks stamping his foot stops him from being found out. It doesn't. The longer he's at the MoD, the less chance he has of ever leading the Conservative party."
Also joining in was former Tory minister Nick Boles who tweeted:
“Would it be too much to ask that senior members of the Cabinet behave like grown-ups, discuss serious issues in a serious way, and avoid running to the papers with childish threats or swearing at foreign dignitaries?”
As the row rumbled on, Tory MP George Freeman seized on a new opinion poll showing that Labour has taken its biggest lead over the Conservatives in three months. According to the BMG survey, Labour is now up to 41% and the Conservatives have slipped to 38%.
A forlorn Freeman sid he was not surprised to see his party slump in the polls given that some colleagues "appear more interested in their own ideological battles than the public good".
Whoever could he have in mind?