After days of ministers calling on Theresa May to scrap the public sector pay cap, the fightback has begun. But it's not coming from the Prime Minister. Instead, it's been left to May's predecessor to make the case for fiscal discipline.
After the Chancellor put his foot down in a speech to the CBI last night – saying that now is not the time to ‘take our foot off the pedal’, his message was today echoed by David Cameron. On a trip to South Korea, the former Prime Minister appeared to seamlessly step back into his old job as he made the moral case for austerity. He accused those who give up on 'sound finances' of being selfish:
'The opponents of so-called austerity couch their arguments in a way that make them sound generous and compassionate. They seek to paint the supporters of sound finances as selfish, or uncaring. The exact reverse is true. Giving up on sound finances isn’t being generous, it’s being selfish: spending money today that you may need tomorrow.'
This isn't a surprising comment – nor is it a new argument. However, the fact that it's taken a former Prime Minister to make it just shows the mess the Conservative party is in. The loss of their majority has spooked many in the party, not least Theresa May. But if the Tories lose faith in their core message, then they'll be in even bigger trouble at the next election.