If Michael Howard had still been Tory leader he would have called for Ruth Kelly’s resignation by now. Not being leader hasn’t actually stopped Mr Howard from making the resignation demand but his successor has wisely chosen a less politically confrontational path.
In a pitch perfect performance on yesterday’s Sunday AM (the kind of performance that first attracted ConservativeHome’s admiration last July) David Cameron said that it was "untenable for the inquiry to be led by ministers" but he didn’t seek a political scalp. In doing so he appeared to be more interested in putting a terrible sequence of events right – and not in politicising the affair.
The failure of the Department for Education to ensure adequate protection of schoolchildren has been scrutinised expertly by the Tory team. A clearly concerned David Willetts has been all over the media but always measured in tone. Schools minister Nick Gibb has also been practising the ‘new politics’ – less adversarial, more constructive – that he has long recommended to the Conservative Party.
The only misstep, in my opinion, from the Tory team has been the suggestion that these decisions about sex offenders be taken out of the hands of politicians like Ruth Kelly. I would always prefer a publicly elected and accountable politician to make these sorts of decisions than a backroom ‘expert’.