Oh dear. Although Theresa May is on a mission to unite her Cabinet after months of in-fighting, her mission appears not to extend to the party-at-large. Or if it does, that memo is yet to reach Damian Green.
Today the First Secretary of State was guest speaker at the Press Gallery Lunch. Although Green is widely regarded as a safe pair of hands within government, there were a few lines that will ruffle feathers:
- Speaking about his predecessor – and former MP – George Osborne, Green said he normally takes ‘all his political insight’ from the London Evening Standard:
‘So I know that Theresa May is to blame for Ben Stokes’ nightlife, hurricane Ophelia and the fact that week after week with her as Prime Minister in November the sun shines for a smaller time every day. The Evening Standard – Russia Today with less Galloway.’
- As for current Tory MPs? It’s just as well no-one brought Heidi Allen as their guest. The serial Tory rebel who the Whips managed to convince not to rebel on Universal Credit in Wednesday’s opposition day debate was cited by Green as an example of politicians of different stripes working together. ‘There are many politicians from different parties who work together – and sometimes Heidi Allen even works with the Conservatives.’
- Responding to Sarah Smith’s Sunday Politics question: Is he Theresa May’s Willy? ‘The best brains in the Cabinet Office have spent a week working on the punchline to that – the least obscene is one that involves the necessity of shoving things down my colleagues throats. That’s the least obscene.’
- As for his party colleague Tim Loughton? Following Loughton’s admission that he has an hour-long bath each morning, Green said he was more of a shower man suggesting this could be because he is a busier person…
Still, at least Green did manage to stay on-message about one thing – telling hacks he still believes May is the right person to lead the party into the next election. That will please Tory MPs…