Theresa may

Theresa May gets her pay day

It’s safe to say that most Conservative MPs will want to forget about 2022: three Prime Ministers, four Chancellors and nose-diving polls to boot. But for one MP at least, it wasn’t all bad. The Tories’ fortunes may have taken a drubbing, but unlike her party, Theresa May had a pretty successful year. Accounts published today show that in the year up until March 2022, the former PM’s eponymous company declared more than £1,186,000 in net assets – some £338,000 up on the previous twelve months. It’s all thanks to the Maidenhead MP’s success on the speaking circuit, with her speeches regularly commanding six-figure sums. While her successors in No.

Theresa revels in Boris’s downfall

Of all those revelling in Boris Johnson’s downfall last week, few probably enjoyed it more than Theresa May. It would only be natural for the former Tory PM to enjoy a little schadenfreude from Johnson’s defenestration, given how his resignation and subsequent maneuverings played their role in destabilising her premiership. Outwardly, of course, May has remained Sphinx-like with regards to the leadership, refusing to divulge who she is backing or even say if she submitted a letter of no confidence in Johnson. But there are signs, perhaps, about her true feelings. The Maidenhead MP did turn up to the aforementioned confidence vote while clad in a full length ball-gown, beaming

Boris may be toppled by accident

Every Tory leader fears a plot against them. Their paranoia isn’t helped by the layout of Westminster, which lends itself to scheming. They worry about huddled groupings in the tearoom, cosy suppers in townhouses, and what’s said behind closed office doors in Portcullis House. It is no coincidence that before the publication of Sue Gray’s report the Tory whips were keen for their MPs to be in parliament, but once the report was released they were very happy for backbenchers to go home. MPs find it harder to plot when they’re away from the Commons. Yet the truth is that if Boris Johnson faces a no-confidence vote it won’t be

Theresa May attacks Patel over Rwanda

All eyes are on the Commons this afternoon for Boris Johnson’s imminent statement on partygate. But before the fun starts at five, Priti Patel offered up an appetiser to whet the appetite, appearing before MPs to justify her new-fangled Rwanda immigration policy. The Home Secretary was in a buoyant mood, calmly rebutting the attacks of indignant Labour members. Until, that is, the familiar figure of Theresa May clambered to her feet to hurl down another thunderbolt from on high in her usual spot on the third row of the backbenches.  Like Ted Heath in kitten heels, May’s unhelpful interventions have become a bi-monthly tradition for the former Prime Minister to

A must-see for Westminster obsessives: Riverside Studios’ Bloody Difficult Women reviewed

Bloody Difficult Women is a documentary drama by the popular journalist Tim Walker, which looks at the similarities between Gina Miller and Theresa May. It’s well known that Walker detests our current prime minister and he refuses even to allow the Johnson name to sully his script. So although Boris was a key player in the story, he doesn’t appear on stage. Nor does May’s husband, Philip. And her influential advisers, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, are omitted too. Their names are mentioned constantly but we never meet them as characters. Slightly frustrating. May herself comes across as weak, secretive and limited. Plainly she was never suited to high office.

Mayites collect their Brexit dividend

Few people in Westminster have a good word to say about the Theresa May years. But for those who served at the heart of the former PM’s doomed administration, life now seems to be pretty sweet. Take Sir Robbie Gibb, May’s director of communications, who now runs his own firm, RPG Consultancy.  The company published its accounts this week and it seems the man tasked with selling May’s Brexit deal is doing better at selling himself, with his firm’s assets jumping from £142,000 in 2020 to £292,000 in 2021 – a surge in capital and reserves from £79,000 to £228,000. Kerching!  Gibb has also bagged himself a plum paid gig dispensing advice at Kekst CNC

‘Operation Red Meat’ won’t beef up the government

Are you ready for ‘Operation Red Meat’? If not, then you should brace yourself. For it looks set to be one of the most fearsome operations of modern political times, liable to make Conservative voters quiver with excitement and feel almost too stimulated. Alert readers will have noticed that Boris Johnson did not have the best end to 2021. Unfortunately he hasn’t had the best start to 2022 either. Hardly a day has gone by when we haven’t learned of some new shocker from No. 10. The impression has been not just of shambolic-ness but of dishonesty, double standards and general incompetence. The point is that the Prime Minister and

Foreign honours for Hunt and May

Not many people here in Westminster have a good word to say about the Theresa May years. But down in tiny San Marino, all that appears to be very different. For the landlocked republic recently chose to lavish two of its most prestigious honours on May and her Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, with both flying there in October to have their honours conferred. Hunt received the prestigious Order of Saint Agatha at the rank Grand Officer; May’s was even better, receiving the same order at the highest rank: Grand Cross.  The awards were given, according to the Consulate of the Republic of San Marino to the UK, for May’s merits ‘not only as

The best children’s books: a Spectator Christmas survey

J.K. Rowling Poignant, funny and genuinely scary, The Hundred and One Dalmatians was one of my favourite books as a child and the story has lingered in my imagination ever since. Blue iced cakes always put me in mind of Cruella de Vil’s experimental food colourings, and whenever our dogs whine to get out at dusk I imagine them joining the canine news network, the twilight barking. There’s simply no resisting a book containing the lines ‘There are some people who always find beauty makes them feel sadder, which is a very mysterious thing’, and ‘Mr Dearly was a highly skilled dog-puncher’. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall There are countless children’s

Theresa May’s risqué joke

Boris couldn’t make it but fortunately there was one Tory premier at last night’s Spectator parliamentarian awards. Former Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to be having the time of her life at the star-studded bash, rocking a fabulous blue number and waltzing up on stage to win Backbencher of the Year to the strains of ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen.’ Collecting the award from her former colleague Robert Buckland, May noted drily: ‘Thank you to all those of my parliamentary colleagues who ensured that I was on the backbenches – some of you are here tonight. Looking in no direction…’ But while that line prompted some laughs, it was what followed which

Blue on Blue: May savages Boris

The faults in the Tory party were on show for all to see today, as MPs were forced to debate No 10’s efforts to block Owen Paterson’s suspension from the Commons. Ministers had hoped to quietly u-turn on their efforts to overhaul the standards system but following Sir Chris Chope’s last minute intervention, a very public debate played out in public today. Members on both sides of the aisle queued up to savage the government’s handling of the case. Shadow Commons leader Thangham Debbonaire attacked the ‘total absence of leadership we have seen from this sorry government over this sorry affair’ while her SNP counterpart Pete Wishart noted how ‘public trust’ in

Is troubled Trudeau the new Theresa May?

Oh dear. For years Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been at pains to prove his feminist credentials. Whether it’s correcting a woman for using the word ‘mankind’ or promising to turn a ‘she-cession’ into a ‘she-covery,’ the hereditary premier has done his damnedest to prove he’s the wokest leader in all the West. But now Tudeau has unwittingly followed in the footsteps of one woman whose example he would not want to follow: another onetime embattled PM Theresa May. A fortnight ago, Trudeau called a snap election to improve his precarious parliamentary majority but the move looks to have backfired spectacularly. Far from increasing his majority, Trudeau is now desperately trying to preserve it as his incumbent

Is Theresa May in any position to criticise the PM?

When Theresa May told a joke at her own expense at a reception of Tory MPs held to celebrate Boris Johnson’s landslide election victory in December 2019, the assembled audience breathed a sigh of relief. Many had expected the freshly re-elected May to be a thorn in the side of her successor during the ensuing parliamentary term. But her deferential joke, about her own botched 2017 election campaign, seemed to amount to an acknowledgment of the superior appeal of Boris Johnson. In fact, the pessimists were right first time, and this has been underlined by May’s extraordinary speech about Afghanistan in the Commons this week. Almost everything she said appeared

Watch: Top five blue-on-blue Tory MP attacks

After seven and a half hours, the House of Commons debate on Afghanistan has finally concluded. Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab will not have fond memories of the day. Keir Starmer, in front of a packed House of Commons for the first time in his leadership, delivered a respectable performance, replete with jabs at the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary. But it will be the criticisms from Tory MPs that will have alarm bells ringing in No. 10 tonight, after a series of bruising condemnations delivered by one senior backbencher after another. Below Steerpike brings you the top five flashpoints of blue on blue attacks from today’s debate in the House of

Isabel Hardman

May and Starmer hold Boris’s feet to the fire over Afghanistan

Boris Johnson has had a very uncomfortable start to today’s Commons debate on Afghanistan. Not only did he have a series of critical interventions from his own backbenchers when he was speaking, he then had to sit through an unusually powerful speech from Sir Keir Starmer. The Leader of the Opposition criticised the PM’s ‘careless leadership’, slammed the Foreign Secretary’s ‘dereliction of duty’ in remaining on holiday as the situation worsened, and pointed to an ‘unforgivable’ lack of planning over the 18 months following Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban.  This was swiftly followed by an equally furious Theresa May. She reminded her successor that he and Joe Biden had indicated

Why is the government so reluctant to give freedom back to citizens?

One year on, we are no further forward. We have a devastated industry, jobs lost and global Britain shut for business. We have gone backwards. We now have more than 50 per cent of the adult population vaccinated, yet we are more restricted on travel than we were last year.  I really do not understand the government’s stance. It is permissible for a person to travel to countries on the amber list, provided that it is practicable for them to quarantine when they come back, but the messaging is mixed and the system chaotic. Portugal was put on the green list, people went to the football, then Portugal was put

Boris Johnson takes aim at ‘lefty’ aid rebels

Normally when a Prime Minister goes on the attack in the Commons, it’s the opposition in his sights. Not so today, when Boris Johnson accidentally attacked his own MPs, including former prime minister Theresa May, for being ‘lefty’ propagandists. He was responding to questions from SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford about the cuts in foreign aid spending from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent, and said: ‘We are in very very difficult financial times but you shouldn’t believe the lefty propaganda that you’re hearing from the people opposite.’ Blackford was amused by this and quipped that he’d never expected to hear May referred to as a leftist. On the

Can Boris finally ‘fix’ social care?

It’s been almost a year since Boris Johnson said he would not wait to ‘fix the problem of social care that every government has flunked for the last 30 years’. With a green paper detailing the government’s plan finally due, we’ll soon learn whether the Prime Minister is as good as his word. We’ll also see whether Johnson succeeds in avoiding the pitfalls encountered by his predecessors. Might he tumble into the same trap that blew up Theresa May’s bungled snap election? The wrecks of those previous attempts – sent out with such high hopes – are plentiful. Talking to the politicians in charge of those efforts from three different

Alan Duncan rants about ‘idiot’ parliamentary colleagues and Britain’s waning influence

As a budding political apparatchik, my first job out of university was as a junior parliamentary assistant to Alan Duncan MP. Working for him was never taxing because it was never boring. Nicknamed ‘Hunky Dunky’, he was well known in the Tory fraternity. Too young to be a grandee and too old to be a rising star, he occupied a special space in the parliamentary party, never part of a clique yet consistently present during his 27 years in parliament. We’d often remark — to his annoyance — that he was the Chips Channon of his generation, since both often ended up on the wrong side of the winning team.

Watch: Theresa May roasts Gavin Williamson

While the rest of SW1 was distracted this afternoon by the findings of the Hamilton report, Mr S tuned in to see Theresa May appear before the National Security Strategy Committee. The former PM remains the master of the withering putdown, as poor Gavin Williamson will have discovered to his cost on watching the meeting back.  Former foreign secretary Margaret Beckett inquired as to how Williamson’s alleged leaking (and subsequent sacking) impacted meetings of the National Security Council and May did not hold back. May replied: ‘I think we then got back into the rhythm of people recognising that they could speak as freely as they had done previously.’ Good to