News of Theresa May’s coronation as the next Prime Minister is – as you’d expect – emblazoned on the front page of every newspaper today. However, the Daily Mail has gone one step further than its rivals — claiming, pretty much, that it enstooled May itself. And judging by its jubilations, if seems that Paul Dacre sees her as a Manchurian candidate programmed from High Street Kensington.
In fact, on reading their article ‘how the Mail backed May from the start‘, one could be forgiven for thinking that the paper’s editor Paul Dacre was moving into No.10 with May come Wednesday:
‘The Daily Mail was the first newspaper to throw its weight behind Theresa May in the race to succeed David Cameron as Prime Minister. Mrs May stands on the threshold of No 10 just ten days after this newspaper backed her as the only politician who could “calm the fever and heal the divisions of post-referendum Britain”.’
The editorial goes on to claim that — even though May did not win the leadership through a vote from its members — their endorsement played a big role. In other words: welcome, Theresa, but remember: you dance with the one that brung ya.
So, why is it the paper is so firmly in May’s corner? While it doesn’t harm May that her SpAd Liz Sanderson is ex Mail on Sunday and has strong ties to the Daily, it’s Dacre’s affection for May that holds the biggest sway. The editor is said to be drawn to the Home Secretary in the same way he previously held affection for Gordon Brown — both hard-working no-nonsense politicians who attended state school. With a hint of that Puritan vibe that so attracts Mr Dacre. She is also one of a handful of people whom Dacre sees personally.
Let’s hope May has a happier run than Brown did when he too found himself in No.10 without a mandate from the membership. The joke about May is that there are two sorts of people you don’t want to be when she takes over No10: an immigrant, or a Secretary of State. But judging by today’s press, it’s a lot nicer to be editor of the Daily Mail.