Imagine how different politics would be now if George Osborne had moved to the Foreign Office after the election. He would have left the Treasury with his economic and political strategy vindicated by the election result and wouldn’t be involved in this deeply damaging row with Iain Duncan Smith. For Osborne to have a former leader, and one of the most respected figures among the party activists, attacking his whole approach to deficit reduction and his conception of fairness is politically disastrous, to put it mildly.
The problem for Osborne is that with no fiscal wriggle room and his opponents on the Tory benches determined to cause him trouble at every opportunity, there is no sign of the pressure on him letting up.
As I say in The Sun this morning, even before IDS’s resignation, one of those closest to Cameron had observed to me that it would have been better if Osborne had become Foreign Secretary after the election. That judgement has been vindicated by the events of last night and the predicament that Osborne and the government now find themselves in.
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