So if Isabel Oakeshott is right, and she very often is, there are 55 Tory MPs who are quite seriously considering the possibility of deposing David Cameron. As young people on Twitter might say – WTF? Are they stark staring mad? Because, let’s face it, deposing a sitting Prime Minister worked so well in 1990, didn’t it? It took the Tory Party fifteen years to recover from committing regicide, and now they want to do it again.
Someone once called the Tories the ‘Stupid Party’. It’s easy to understand why. It was also once said that loyalty was the Tory Party’s secret weapon. Clearly whoever said that had never met some of the boneheads who think this is a good idea. The amusing thing is that a high proportion of those who want rid of Cameron voted for him back in 2005. Yes Nadine, I mean you. And you Stewart, Chris etc etc. I could go on. But before I do, let’s read what Isabel Oakshott writes in today’s Sunday Times.
An increasing number of backbenchers are privately discussing the possibility of attempting to unseat the prime minister before the poll in 2015 if the party continues to trail in the polls. While there is no immediate threat to his position, a well-placed source said that up to 17 MPs had now written letters of “no confidence”, and there are rumours that at least one list of MPs willing to back a coup is being gathered. One source claimed a “rebel reserve” was being gathered, comprised of MPs ready to write simultaneously to Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 backbench committee, if the position of the party in the polls looks so desperate that a change of leader becomes urgent. The group, said to number about 55, would also act if Cameron refused to go after a general election defeat. Their names are said to be held by a co-ordinating MP who has obtained firm pledges from them to act at the same time. The tactic of sending the letters simultaneously would enable the target of 46 needed to trigger a ballot to be reached straightaway.
I could probably name most of these MPs but perhaps I’d better not. Although it might be fun to see the fallout. The simple truth is that the Conservative Party and David Cameron will live or die together. Any talk of a leadership challenge is self indulgent political wankery. And it must stop. If they ditch Cameron they will deserve the electoral oblivion which would no doubt await. I mean, who do they think would come to the rescue? Boris? Dream on. George Osborne. Oh please. Michael Gove? No way. And who else is there? Just go through the Cabinet and imagine each one of them on the doorstep of Number Ten doing their ‘Where there is discord speech’. See what I mean? And if supporters of Liam Fox or anyone else think their man is capable of a mother of all political comebacks they need to take a reality pill.
David Davis said back in October that any talk of a leadership contest was “plain daft”. He continued…
“We are in the middle of a national crisis in economic terms. It is not a time for introspection.”
Cameron wasn’t just for 2010. He was for 2015 too. If he loses, fine, don’t waste time in getting rid of him. But that moment can’t come until May 2015. And if they try it before, let’s just relish the wrath the electoral Gods will rain down on them.