Suddenly Tory cabinet indiscipline moves to the top of the political agenda

June 27th, 2018

Maybe it was BoJo that started it but very quickly we are seeing leading cabinet figures seeking to set the agenda away from the principle of cabinet collective responsibility. This could be very dangerous for TMay who clearly does not feel she has the strength to sack the rebels.

With DefSec, Gavin Williamson, demanding zillions extra for defence the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss is this morning attacking cabinet colleagues particularly Michael Gove.

Perhaps they should all take a breath and read Danny Finklestein’s piece in the Times this morning. On Boris he writes:

“He is being asked to take his share of responsibility for the government’s airport decision. If he is unwilling to do so, he really can’t continue in office. After all, if the rules don’t apply to him, why should they apply to anyone else? Why should the chancellor not hightail it to some supposedly vital meeting thousands of miles away when the prime minister next asks him to vote against a customs union?

Mrs May should appreciate that in allowing Mr Johnson to behave like this she is altering the constitution. Collective responsibility isn’t a law, it’s simply a custom and once the custom is broken it will be hard to restore it. Without collective responsibility, cabinet government ceases..

These are dangerous times for the government.

Mike Smithson