There is no such thing as an unsackable minister, warns May

There is no such thing as an unsackable minister, warns May

Theresa May has issued a warning to her Cabinet ministers that none of them is “unsackable”.
The Prime Minister’s comment comes after she was forced to upbraid senior colleagues after an outbreak of vicious briefing against Chancellor Philip Hammond.
Mrs May received the backing of senior backbenchers to remove any ministers who were found to be plotting against her.
And an unnamed minister was quoted by The Times as saying she should sack testosterone-fuelled “donkeys” behind a series of hostile leaks against the Chancellor.
Speaking to LBC Radio in 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister said: “There is no such thing as an unsackable minister, but at the moment the team is together and we are getting on with the job of delivering what we need to do.”
Pressed by presenter Iain Dale over whether any minister was unsackable, she replied: “No.”
Mrs May was forced to tell senior ministers on Tuesday to show “unity” as she urged them to keep details of their discussions around the Cabinet table private.
She warned that infighting could result in Labour and Jeremy Corbyn winning power.
Her warning came after newspapers reported that the previous week’s Cabinet meeting had seen Mr Hammond claim that public sector workers were “overpaid” and receive a dressing-down for saying that women could “even” become train drivers.
Senior members of the 1922 Committee, which represents Conservative backbenchers, indicated there was no appetite for a leadership election and Mrs May would have their backing if she sacked plotters.
The committee’s chairman, Graham Brady, told the Guardian the party was “clear that it is supporting Theresa May and there is no intention of holding a leadership election, which would be a huge distraction from the important job of government”.
Nigel Evans, the committee’s secretary, told the paper: “The men in grey suits have gone to Theresa and said ‘you have our support if you find anyone plotting or on manoeuvres to get rid of them’.”
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon called for military discipline from ministers to confront the “dangerous enemy” of Mr Corbyn and defend the Conservative case for sound public finances.
“In this summer of warm prosecco I think we in the Cabinet would also do well to reflect on those military virtues: loyalty, discipline, cohesion, that might better enable us first to concentrate our fire on a dangerous enemy in reach of Downing Street – somebody who would lower our defences, scrap our deterrent, weaken our response to terrorism,” he said at a reception on Tuesday hosted by the Policy Exchange think tank.
“And second, to better articulate again the moral case for lower taxation, for honest public financing, for wider opportunity, enterprise and ownership – the Conservative case.”
In her LBC interview, Mrs May was challenged over whether the willingness of ministers to leak details from Cabinet meetings was an indication of her weakened authority following last month’s botched election.
She replied: “I have to say, I think if you look back over the years, you will find that this has sadly not been the only instance when people say things out of Cabinet. It shouldn’t happen and it is important that we accept collective responsibility.”
Mrs May said: “(For) all of us in government, it is a huge privilege, but it also brings a responsibility and part of that responsibility is about doing the job we have to do.
“We have important policies to deliver for the public, there are some big issues we have got to deal with – Brexit, of course, being one of them.”
She said her message on Tuesday was that “we need to ensure that we can get on with that work that we need to do to deliver for people and … that means the Government being together.”
Mrs May added: “We have a very simple approach in this country that things said at these Cabinet meetings shouldn’t be reported publicly in that way, and people should accept collective responsibility. When decisions are taken, they are Government decisions.”
Mrs May laughed when she was asked whether she would promote Conservative backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg to her Cabinet.
And she did not hold out much hope of a ministerial post for the North East Somerset MP, telling LBC: “Jacob is a great colleague and he makes a huge contribution in the House of Commons.
“It’s always worth listening to Jacob’s contributions in the House of Commons because he is a great history buff and you learn an awful lot when you listen to him.”
Mrs May acknowledged that Tories had “a job to do” to win over young voters, who were widely credited with boosting Labour’s vote at the June 8 election.
“We have a job to do in getting that message across to people,” she said.
“It’s a message about jobs and what we are going to do on housing and reassuring young people and giving them confidence in their futures.
“I think a lot of young people do worry about what is going to happen, particularly on housing and what the jobs of the future are going to be and will they be given the skills to take those jobs up.”

Advertisement

Recent Posts