There’s little sign of a Christmas truce in the Conservative party this morning. Instead, the row between Theresa May’s camp followers and the rest of the Conservative hierarchy is still being played out in the newspapers.
This might be a particularly public episode of it but this row has been going on in private for quite some time. The cause is really quite simple, Number 10, other Cabinet Ministers and CCHQ believe that May’s followers regularly put promoting her future leadership ambitions above the interests of the party. Harry Cole’s recent profile of May for Spectator Life which claimed that she had given up on Cameron and no longer rated him infuriated both Downing Street and CCHQ.
May herself can’t plead ignorance in all this. Six months ago, one of her special advisers had to resign after—in a spectacular breach of the rules—confidential Cabinet correspondence was published on the Home Office website. At that point, most ministers would have put their team on a shorter leash. But now, there’s another row raging involving her advisers, this time about the refusal of two of them to help out with the Rochester & Strood by-election campaign.
In truth, neither May nor Cameron nor any other Conservative Cabinet Minister wins from this row. As I say in the Mail on Sunday this morning, if the Tories can’t stop this kind of petty squabbling they will lose the general election next May.