Theresa May doesn’t have a Willie and it shows. She urgently and desperately needs a Willie in her government

Theresa May doesn’t have a Willie and it shows. She urgently and desperately needs a Willie in her government

If she loses her Chancellor so early in her Premiership, people might infer Mrs May is wholly unsuited to be Prime Minister

According to Margaret Thatcher one of the prerequisites of being a successful Prime Minister was “Every Prime Minister needs a Willie.” She was referring to William Whitelaw, her deputy, as she further expanded, “Willie is a big man in character as well as physically. He wanted the success of the Government which from the first he accepted would be guided by my general philosophy. Once he had pledged his loyalty, he never withdrew it.” Her cabinet colleague, Nicholas Ridley argued that Whitelaw’s retirement [in 1988] marked the beginning of the end of the Thatcher premiership, as he was no longer around as often to give sensible advice and to moderate her stance on issues, or to maintain a consensus of support in her own Cabinet and Parliamentary Party.

I look at the current cabinet and fail to see a Willie Whitelaw de nos jours, which explains this story in today’s Mail on Sunday,

The Treasury last night moved to quash fears that Philip Hammond could be on the brink of quitting as Chancellor over the mounting Cabinet rift over Brexit.

Friends of Mr Hammond claim he has been deliberately excluded from key No 10 meetings because of his outspoken criticism of Ministers who back the ‘hard’ Brexit option of the UK leaving the single market.

They fear that, at the age of 60, he will walk out of the Government rather than stifle his opposition.

I have a lot of sympathy for Mrs May as extricating the United Kingdom from the European Union is the modern day political equivalent of The Twelve Labours of Hercules, she needs some help dealing with a fractious cabinet during Brexit, getting a Willie might help her become a truly successful Prime Minister. It would stop stories like this and stop Philip Hammond going from being 25/1 as the next out of the cabinet to 8/1 in a little over a week.

Many in the Tory party hope Mrs May is Margaret Thatcher Mark II, she might end up being Sir Alec Douglas-Home Mark II, like Sir Alec, she’s an old Oxonian who became an unelected and mandateless Prime Minister, who lasted less than a year as Prime Minister. A little over a year after Nigel Lawson resigned as Chancellor, Mrs Thatcher was forced out as Prime Minister by her own party, perhaps Mrs May truly is the heir to Thatcher.


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