What is Theresa May up to?

Theresa May delivers a speech.

The Prime Minister is gearing herself up for a major fight with the Treasury over spending.

Theresa May has written an article for the Observer today in which she “reaches out” to Labour voters and repeats her conference promise that austerity will come to an end in the spending review.

It’s already causing irritation in Labour land. The Labour leadership already dislikes the Observer’s focus on the People’s Vote campaign and they feel that undue prominence is being given to a bland op-ed by the Prime Minister. The article is a bit “dog bites man” as it is one politician reaching out to their opponent’s own voters: as one senior Labour figure complained to me this morning: all politicians in all parties “do this 24/7”.

But actually, that’s the interesting thing and what is causing confusion among Conservatives: May’s rhetoric feels more like the kind of fairly boilerplate stuff rolled out during the heat of an election campaign rather than something you’d expect to read from a Prime Minister barely a fifth of the way through a parliament’s allotted term.

The obvious answer is preparing for another election. There are few things that unite Conservative MPs but one of them is that they will never permit May to lead them into another election and that attempting to trigger an early election would in of itself cause a coup against her. An early election would exacerbate, rather than ease, the Tory division over Europe. Any Conservative manifesto would, of course, have some form of Brexit policy in it, but almost every prominent Tory outside the Cabinet would disagree with it in some shape or form. The election would become a rolling nightmare of blue-on-blue, and Downing Street knows this full well.

The Observer is also an odd choice of outlet to …read more

Source:: New Statesman


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