PM’s Tory detractors help Corbyn edge toward No10

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Prime Minister Theresa May during the remembrance service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London, on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Prime Minister Theresa May during the remembrance service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall, central London, on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice

The Conservative Party has never in its history been in such a state of turmoil and civil war as is the case today over Brexit.

The Conservative Party has never in its history been in such a state of turmoil and civil war as is the case today over Brexit.

The question is now legitimately being asked whether it can ever recover fully from the horrendous political damage it is inflicting on itself. People do not vote for parties which are scratching their own eyes out.

Jo Johnson, the hitherto orderly Transport Minister, has become the seventh member of the Government to resign over Brexit. Unlike his brother, Boris, Jo is a Remainer and has said that he is not out to remove the Prime Minister, but simply to change the policy.

If Johnson thinks the voters are fooled by that statement, he is a fool himself. He must know that every political missile hurled at the Prime Minister weakens her position, possibly to the point where she will topple over the edge.

These people say they are putting the good of the nation above that of party. Yet they warn that a Jeremy Corbyn Government would be a disaster for Britain.

Why then are they helping Corbyn and his henchmen on towards their goal of 10 Downing Street?

If they continue in this way, they will soon find out they’ve transformed the Conservative Party – once the epitome of loyalty and discretion – into a broken down old horse, ready for the knackers’ yard. They have been warned...

• The Commons Speaker, John Bercow, seems impervious to the barrage of criticism which continues on a daily basis to come his way, including allegations of favourites and non-favourites among MPs, accusations that he is pro-Labour in his dealings with the House, and that he is not always as impartial on some political issues as his job demands.

On top of all that, he refuses to wear the robes which his predecessors have worn down the centuries, and instead has fashioned his own type of housecoat which, when he wears it on special occasions, makes him look more like a pantomime version of Ronnie Corbett dressed as a hardware store assistant, than as the holder of one of the great offices of state in the land.

Having already outstayed the period he originally said he would remain Speaker, he has still shown no sign of budging.

So, why do MPs continue to tolerate this man whom some have already described as the worst Speaker in history? Is it that they simply can’t be bothered to do it or that they are too “frit” – as Margaret Thatcher would have said – to do it?

Probably a bit of both. But it’s no good MPs continually moaning about him, then just sitting there and doing nothing about it.

• I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that those who tell us to be “inclusive” in our dealings with others, are sometimes themselves guilty of precisely the opposite.

Harriet Harman, a senior member of the parliamentary Labour Party, has suggested that there should be an all-women short list in the election of the next party leader.

That strikes me as being about as “exclusive” as it could be, cutting out more than half the parliamentary party. Harman, incidentally, has expressed an interest to be considered as the next Speaker.

• Conservative MP Helen Whately says there are too many ‘MPs only’ areas in the House of Commons, thus worsening the sense of us and them. When I worked in the Commons, I regret I took schoolboy delight in sneaking along forbidden corridors and being in places where I was not allowed. However, I paid the price.

Once I entered a ‘Members only’ lift. At the next level I was horrified that Enoch Powell, that great stickler for the rules, stepped in.

He stared long and hard at the ‘Members only’ notice, and then stared long and hard at me, before commenting: “Oh dear, I must have missed the by-election.”