A second set of emails to David Cameron – from his key parliamentary aide, Desmond Swayne MP – have leaked. The first were leaked to The Sunday Times and this morning’s Guardian has the second. Mr Swayne’s judgment in committing his thoughts to email has to be questioned but I am struck by the wisdom of the overall advice. Take the latest advice…
- Mr Swayne warns the leader about policy being made "on the hoof" – a problem ConservativeHome highlighted a few weeks ago. Too many decisions are being taken by Mr Cameron’s small, inner circle – there’s not enough delegation to shadow cabinet ministers – and "my concern," writes Swayne, "is that you might if you keep your foot quite so hard on the accelerator be in danger of being completely frazzled."
- Mr Swayne reports "concern about you being deflected from the pledge to leave the European Peoples Party." The EPP issue has become the biggest headache of David Cameron’s leadership so far. 71% of Tory members think the leader’s trustworthiness could be damaged if he fails to deliver on his exit pledge. Desmond Swayne was right to warn the leader about the danger of failing to focus on this issue.
- Another email states: "A number of colleagues have expressed surprise John Hayes is still on the frontbench, given the language he used in a press release attacking the Conservative headquarters proposals on candidate selection." Mr Hayes had attacked the A-list as the "product of the bizarre theory of people who spend too much time with the pseuds and poseurs of London’s chichi set and not enough time in normal Britain". "It may have been an opportunity to give a salutary warning, but I think on balance it would have been a mistake to sack him," Mr Swayne concluded. That, too, was wise advice. John Hayes was wrong to say what he did but Desmond Swayne knew that he was representing a sizeable proportion of backbench opinion. He also knows that John Hayes has triumphed in each of the portfolios he has held and the frontbench would be a lot poorer without him.