It’s the end of the week and it’s hard to say what the government has actually achieved. Whether it’s deciding not to launch a judicial inquiry in the John Worboys case or not to tackle the growing pressures on the NHS, the government appears to be in a state of drift.
Unfortunately for Theresa May this has caught the attention of one of her more amiable MPs. Step forward Nick Boles. The former minister has taken to social media on a Friday night to criticise his party leader. Boles says ‘there is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints’. He concludes that she must ‘raise her game’.
— Nick Boles MP (@NickBoles) January 19, 2018
This unprecedented intervention will worry No 10 is that Boles is no typical rebel. He is widely-respected in his party and not seen to be a bitter Cameroon (as with the Grant Shapps plot) or an ardent Remainer (as with Dominic Grieve, Anna Soubry or Nicky Morgan). What’s more, he ran Michael Gove’s leadership campaign so there’s a high chance what he’s thinking is echoed further up the party hierarchy.
The Prime Minister’s reshuffle has had interesting ramifications this week. As Isabel has written on Coffee House, there has been the inevitable group of MPs unhappy because they have been overturned for promotion. But also, there was a hope that the reshuffle would help provide this government with energy and purpose – and improve its agenda. With usually well-behaved MPs like Boles taking issue, unless things change it’s only a matter of time until his colleagues follow suit.