Sir Graham Brady was chatting with a colleague in a quiet spot near the House of Commons chamber when a fellow knight of the realm marched up to him. Sir Desmond Swayne, a veteran Brexiteer, Iraq War veteran and former aide to David Cameron, waved what looked like a letter in front of the 1922 Committee chairman. “Here you go!” he said.
Swayne then swiftly withdrew the piece of paper, declaring “Just bluffing!” With a loud guffaw, he then continued his way down the thickly-carpeted corridor and into the distance.
Gallows humour abounds more than ever within the Conservative Party in Parliament these days. But having survived a more than a week of leadership plots and threats, will Theresa May be the one to have the last laugh?
Despite the resignation of two more Cabinet ministers over her Brexit plans, despite 26 of her MPs publicly calling for her removal, the Prime Minister is still there in Number 10. Critics call her the ‘Zombie PM of a Zombie government’, yet the brute fact is she has lived to die another day. A YouGov/Times poll found that May’s personal approval ratings had jumped by 13 points in a week, and the Tories regained a three point lead over Labour.
So just how has she done it? One obvious reason is the sheer incompetence of the plotters, although even May’s closest allies have been surprised at the shambolic lack of organisation of would-be assassins Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker. When Rees-Mogg fell into the trap of agreeing that he and his supporters looked like a ‘Dad’s Army’ farce, aides in No.10 couldn’t believe their luck.
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