Though his Conservative colleagues have largely been very supportive of Grant Shapps during the latest row about his alter ego Michael Green, there is a contingent in the party who aren’t massive fans of the Tory chairman and who have pushed at previous reshuffles to have him removed. As I predicted yesterday, those opponents of Shapps certainly aren’t planning any trouble this side of an election. But that doesn’t mean they’ll leave him alone permanently. One critic whispers:
‘We’re keeping quiet as there is an election imminent. But the knives will be out after that. He lied on radio - and a Cabinet Minister who does that should be toast. And he will be.’
Shapps yesterday said he had ‘over firmly’ denied that he was doing a second job while working as an MP, and David Cameron has stuck by him. His friends describe the incident as ‘cock-up rather than conspiracy’. Most Tory MPs tend to couple him with Lynton Crosby as a force for good in the party’s election campaign, and if the Tories do well in the election, perhaps his critics will think again about causing trouble for the chair. Though even success is no guarantee of peace in the Conservative party.