Tories at war as George Osborne makes more trouble for Theresa May

Written by James Millar on 23 June 2017 in Diary

Relations between the former chancellor and the PM turned even more sour after bombshell claim in his Evening Standard

A claim that Theresa May blocked moves to reassure EU nationals after the Brexit vote has been disputed by top Tories.

Today's editorial in The Evening Standard, which is edited by former chancellor George Osborne, claimed that immediately following the EU referendum David Cameron proposed guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. But the article goes on to say that despite the majority of Cameron's cabinet ministers agreeing to it the move was vetoed by then Home Secretary Theresa May. At the time David Cameron had already resigned but remained PM while the Conservative leadership campaign ran its course. Two other candidates in that contest, Andrea Leadsom and Michael Gove, said they would guarantee EU nationals' rights but eventual winner Theresa May gave no such reassurance.

Confronted with the claim today the Prime Minister insisted that was "certainly not my recollection". Allies of May have also poured scorn on Osborne's version of events with some claiming no such discussion took place.

Lib Dem Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said the revelation showed Theresa May's administration was "mean-spirited".

Last night, one day shy of the first anniversary of the Brexit poll taking place, May told EU leaders in Brussels that European citizens could stay in the UK after Brexit and she was willing to guarantee the rights with regard to things like education and pensions of those that have lived here for five years. In return she wants a similar deal for British people who stay on the continent.

However European Council president Donald Tusk said the proposal was "below our expectations". And Theresa May will face pressure at home and abroad to improve her offer. The opposition in the Commons are expected to attempt to force a vote on the issue. Tory MPs voted down a motion to unilaterally guarantee EU nationals' rights in the last parliament before the government brought forward its own proposals. Now that the prime minister has announced her plans and short of a Commons majority she may struggle to win another vote on the same issue.

The latest revelation in the pages of the Evening Standard is yet another souring of relations between Theresa May and the man she sacked from his post as chancellor. Since his surprise move into journalism George Osborne has used the Evening Standard to repeatedly attack the PM. He produced four editions on the day after the general election featuring headlines like 'May's right royal mess' and 'Queen of denial' and on the Marr programme a few days later he called her a 'dead woman walking'.



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