The sum of what has been written about Theresa May on this site during the last few days is roughly as follows. Party members don’t believe she can lead the Conservatives into the next election. Nor do Conservative MPs. And nor does this site.
However, there is no agreement about when she should stand down, and Tory MPs are concerned that if she does so now, there will be pressure for a second election after a leadership contest – since the winner will have no mandate to govern as Prime Minister (or so it will be argued).
And most don’t want a second poll any time soon. They are exhausted. So are activists. Furthermore, those in marginal constituencies are worried that they would lose them, and join with those in other seats in not wanting an election that might put Jeremy Corbyn over the finishing line and into Parliament.
What all agree on for the moment is roughly what this site recommended on Saturday – namely, that May must adapt to survive, by governing with her Cabinet, consulting the 1922 Committee Executive more, and making proper use of Ruth Davidson.
“The question now is whether she has the adaptability, gregariousness, cunning and humility for the course she must take to survive,” we wrote. She seems to have made a good start at that crucial meeting of the 1922 Committee this evening, throwing herself on the mercy of Conservative MPs.
The Prime Minister conceded that “I got us into this mess, and I’m going to get us out of it” and, crucially, didn’t suggest that she is determined to lead the Party into the next election, saying merely that she has “served the party since I was 12. I will serve you for as long as you want me”.
She has also taken ConservativeHome’s advice in at least three ways. We recommended that she make use of Gavin Barwell. He is now Chief of Staff. We said that Davidson should join Political Cabinet when she can. She was at it today.
Perhaps above all, we said seperately that she must look after MPs who have lost their seats – helping them to make the transition from Parliament to life outside. There is a strong feeling about some Tory MPs and ex-MPs that David Cameron said of 2015’s losers that “no man will be left behind”, but didn’t deliver.
This sentiment was a feature in suspicion in some quarters of the boundary review, which proposes a reduction in seats. At any rate, May stressed this evening that the Conservative MPs who lost last week won’t be forgotten. Nor should their staff be – all of whom have suddenly been thrown out of work.