James Forsyth

The Tory party holds its nerve - for now

The Tory party holds its nerve - for now
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The dust is settling from the County Council elections and, crucially, the Tory party seems to have stayed steady. Yes, David Davis has had a pop at the number of Old Etonians surrounding the PM and 20 MPs have called for a mandate referendum. But there is no sense of mass panic or revolt.

Partly this is because David Cameron had already started doing the things he was going to be told to do after this result. As one Downing Street source remarks, ‘the shift is already well under way.’ He points to the tougher measures on immigration and welfare coming up in the Queen’s Speech and Number 10’s new efforts to involve Tory MPs in policy-making.

Another thing steadying the Tory party’s nerves is that Labour did not do that well on Thursday. Indeed, it is poor for the main opposition party not to break 30 percent in terms of projected national vote share in a mid-term election. The Sky News projection shows that Labour would barely win a parliamentary majority on this performance, something which should alarm Ed Miliband as Cameron will find it easier to squeeze the Ukip vote than he will.

The mood of Tory MPs will, I suspect, be largely determined by whether they think that Labour is beatable at the next election. At the moment, they think it is.