Theresa May's government "smells of decline", warns Tory MP
Questioning May’s choices for cabinet positions, the Tory backbencher said the Conservatives still seem "punch drunk" from June's disastrous election performance
Image credit: Photoshot/ Avalon
Theresa May's government "smells of decline", Tory MP Johnny Mercer has warned.
Questioning May’s choices for cabinet positions, the Tory backbencher said the Conservatives still seem "punch drunk" from June's disastrous election performance.
He also said the way some in his party had reacted to the recent uproar over both Priti Patel and Boris Johnson had been "depressing".
Mercer spoke out after a tumultuous fortnight that has seen Michael Fallon and Patel both leave the Cabinet, and ministers Damian Green and Mark Garnier facing Cabinet Office investigations into their conduct.
And he appeared to accuse Theresa May of prioritising "famous names" over the most able MPs when drawing up her Cabinet.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Mercer delivered a damning verdict of the Government's performance.
“It smells of decline, and the people won’t have it” he said.
"There becomes a cross-over point in seats like mine, it becomes about your personal integrity, about your credibility. You have to step back and question what your party is doing - of course. Yes we are beginning to get there I fear".
Mercer added: “We are in critical times. Brexit is a huge challenge, but can be a great success if we get it right.
"But the Conservative Party still seems punch-drunk after the election, bemused by ongoing sagas in the Cabinet.”
But he questioned the way the Prime Minister had chosen her top team, suggesting she had not embraced newer MPs.
“We have a duty to the nation to ensure the Cabinet is comprised of the best people in parliament, not the most famous names. Theresa May had to make a decision where she formed her cabinet: whether to select members to manage the fall-out from Brexit or select the best modernisers to bring about social change," Mr Mercer said.
"She chose the former - I understand that, but now is the time for bold, outward facing leadership in my view.”
He specifically criticised the decision to appoint former chief whip Gavin Williamson as Defence Secretary, saying "it seems to have sent a message to the military community...about how my party thinks about Defence, that I am not 100% comfortable with".
Calls have been made for the controversial tests to be scrapped
The zipped list is topped by Aberdeenshire solicitor and former district council leader Sheila Richie
The Cabinet Secretary for Equalities sets out her support for trans equality
David Cameron and George Osborne hailed as geniuses by Tory leadership hopeful for persuading public to back huge cuts in public spending