A potential reshuffle could buy the Prime Minister time. But eventually, she'll be expected to resign—and the party will turn on her if she doesn'tby Rachel Cunliffe / September 4, 2017 / Leave a comment
Theresa May made a colossal error of judgement by calling a snap election.
This is not a particularly controversial viewpoint. Even with the comments of former Conservative leader William Hague last week insisting that the problem was the result, not May’s decision, there are few that would argue that the prime minister has not been irreparably damaged by her recklessness. But if you were still undecided, the contents of a newly leaked memo, penned by Tory strategist Sir Lynton Crosby in April, should allay any doubts.
In his “Election Strategic Note – April 2017”, Crosby warns May not to be swayed by her 20-point lead in the polls, questioning whether there is any justification for taking such an unnecessary risk. In retrospect, Crosby appears a true Cassandra, whose unheeded predictions about unrealistically high expectations and a fickle electorate proved alarmingly accurate.
Still, what’s done is done, and May has moved on. After a summer holiday in the Alps, she is attempting to shore up her shaky position with rumours of cabinet reshuffle after the Conservative party conference in October.
This has two potential short term benefits. For a start, it might provide the opportunity many Tories have hoped for to inject the front bench with some new blood and distance the party from the disastrous election manifesto.
More importantly, however, it discourages dissent, including among the Remainers in the party—such as Anna Soubry, Sajid Javid or even Philip Hammond—who might be tempted to make trouble now Labour has changed its policy on the Single Market and Customs Union.