DM COMMENT: Keir Starmer in No. 10 will be the only result of Tory war

DM COMMENT: Keir Starmer in No. 10 will be the only result of Tory war

06/07/2022

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: If it goes on, this circular Tory firing squad can have only one result – Keir Starmer and his wrecking crew in No. 10

For four heady days, the nation came together in exuberant celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Ceremony and pageant mixed with wondrous light shows, parades and boisterous street parties to create a cornucopia of festive enjoyment.

The cynics were banished. The sun shone. The whole country was in a buoyant mood, fuelled by a tidal wave of patriotic feeling — and no small amount of alcohol.

Yesterday came the hangover. And what a thumpingly painful one it was.

Many of us awoke to a morning of dank, sullen drizzle. London Underground was paralysed by a spiteful strike, presaging a summer of union-inflicted misery across Britain’s rail network.

Airports were in chaos, leaving thousands of passengers stranded. Russian artillery was pulverising the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. Food and fuel inflation were raging unabated, biting hard into family budgets.

And what were Tory MPs doing to help voters weather this gathering storm of real-world problems? Absolutely nothing.

Instead, they hit the self-destruct button, embarking on an insane civil war.

We know from long experience that voters will not elect a party at war with itself

Boris Johnson won last night’s no-confidence vote, but the result was undeniably disappointing. While 211 Tory MPs backed him, 148 — 41 per cent of the Parliamentary party — did not.

He now has the task of reasserting his authority, and this paper sincerely hopes loyal Conservatives will rally round him in that task.

As the PM said, the vote is over and ‘it’s now time to unite and deliver on the people’s priorities’.

How the voters’ hearts must have sunk. Just 30 months ago they elected Boris by a landslide to deliver Brexit and realise his vision of uniting and levelling up the country.

Within weeks he had delivered on the first part of the bargain, pushing through the withdrawal agreement Remainers had said was impossible.

On the second, he made an energetic start even before Covid struck, announcing new freeports and authorising thousands of Whitehall jobs to be moved northwards.

Yet now, as if in some bleak 21st-century Shakespearean tragedy, his own colleagues — vast numbers of whom would never have been elected without him — are conspiring to bring him down.

It is as undemocratic as it is treacherous.

Boris has stood firm against Russian aggression when France and Germany preached appeasement. As a freedom-loving country, we should be proud of his resolve

Perhaps the most contemptible aspect of this self-indulgent putsch is that the plotters have no credible idea of what will come next.

For their party, it may well be a long spell in the political wilderness. We know from long experience that voters will not elect a party at war with itself.

This rebellion has been sparked by a disparate band of backbenchers, many of whom wouldn’t normally give each other the time of day, let alone agree on policy matters. They are united only by the desire to defenestrate their leader.

They are ministerial has-beens, attention seekers, terminal lightweights and, inevitably, a clique of embittered Remainers who will never forgive Boris for honouring the referendum result they tried so desperately to reverse.

Chief among this latter group is Jeremy Hunt, who had a distinctly underwhelming record as Health Secretary and was later sacked by Mr Johnson as Foreign Secretary.

Mr Hunt is out for revenge. He has the brass neck to say he didn’t really want to have a leadership debate. But as the Mail reveals today, he has been preparing for this moment for more than a year, hoping to seize the Tory crown for himself.

He is even said to be lining up a ghost Cabinet, including the likes of Andrew ‘Plebgate’ Mitchell and Tobias Ellwood, who last week called for the UK to rejoin the single market.

Mr Hunt urged fellow MPs to vote for change. His idea of change is taking the party back to the future — with all the ghastly rancour that would entail

In his statement yesterday, Mr Hunt urged fellow MPs to vote for change. His idea of change is taking the party back to the future — with all the ghastly rancour that would entail.

He voted Remain in the referendum, supported a second public vote on the terms of our EU exit and was a cheerleader for Theresa May’s chimera of a withdrawal deal. Indeed, Tory critics call him ‘Theresa May in trousers — without the charisma’.

When will he and his fellow travellers realise the Brexit battle is over and that they lost?

They are like the Japanese soldiers fighting on in the jungle years after armistice has been declared.

Neither the party nor the country wants a return to that exhausting war of attrition.

And if Mr Hunt truly believes he could win an election by promising to turn back the clock, he is seriously delusional. As no-nonsense Johnson loyalist Nadine Dorries told him yesterday: ‘You’ve been wrong about almost everything. You are wrong again now.’

There are talented and energetic ministers, such as Liz Truss and Nadhim Zahawi. But they are untested at the highest level

Neither is there any other obvious successor — certainly not one in Mr Johnson’s league as a vote winner. There are talented and energetic ministers, such as Liz Truss and Nadhim Zahawi. But they are untested at the highest level.

With so many of the plotters, the motive is personal rather than political. Mr Johnson was never part of the Westminster establishment and has few natural allies in the bubble.

But having ridden on his coat-tails when it suited them, to turn on him with such alacrity now, at this moment of national and international crisis, is simply shameful.

The attacks on him by the mainstream broadcast media — BBC, Sky, Channel 4, ITN — have also been vicious and unrelenting. Even Jeremy Corbyn was given a fairer shake.

Partygate was a heaven-sent opportunity for these sanctimonious hacks to join Labour in a pious feeding frenzy. True, the Downing Street parties shouldn’t have happened but, from some of the TV coverage, you’d think he’d led a drunken conga through a care home.

By contrast, Beergate hypocrite Sir Keir Starmer has been dissembling like mad for weeks about his own rule-breaking party in Durham with barely a breath of criticism from the Boris-haters.

The animus towards Mr Johnson is out of all proportion. Just look at his record in government, most of which has been spent battling a global pandemic.

Apart from getting Brexit done, he presided over a world-beating vaccine miracle and kept the UK economy intact through the worst health crisis in a century.


Beergate hypocrite Sir Keir Starmer has been dissembling like mad for weeks about his own rule-breaking party in Durham with barely a breath of criticism from the Boris-haters. But the really chilling consequence of this tawdry plot is that it plays not just into the hands of Labour but also the Lib Dems, Scottish Nationalists and Greens


If the Tories implode, these minor parties would form a nightmare coalition guaranteed to bring the country to its knee. The break-up of the United Kingdom, obeisance to wokery, punitive taxes, all manner of green madness and very likely votes for 16-year-olds would be on the cards

Unemployment is at a record low and, though sluggish, Britain’s growth rate is the highest in the G7. Just imagine where we would have been had Mr Corbyn and John McDonnell won in 2019. Bankrupt — and still in lockdown.

On Ukraine, too, Boris has stood firm against Russian aggression when France and Germany preached appeasement. As a freedom-loving country, we should be proud of his resolve.

But the really chilling consequence of this tawdry plot is that it plays not just into the hands of Labour but also the Lib Dems, Scottish Nationalists and Greens.

If the Tories implode, these minor parties would form a nightmare coalition guaranteed to bring the country to its knees. The break-up of the United Kingdom, obeisance to wokery, punitive taxes, all manner of green madness and very likely votes for 16-year-olds would be on the cards.

There would also be a move towards proportional representation, consigning this country to the quagmire of coalition politics in perpetuity.

The Tories have a little over two years to prove themselves worthy of another term in government. They can do that only if they stop navel-gazing and get on with the job of improving the lives of their constituents.

If it continues, this circular firing squad can have only one result. A Tory bloodbath which propels Sir Keir and his wrecking-crew coalition into government.

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