A week into Theresa May’s general election campaign, a third senior adviser has just quit Downing Street. Hayden Allan has been a big-name Conservative adviser for the last decade. But amid a backdrop of chaos, he is now off to greener pastures.
The last goodbye
Press chief to Chancellor Philip Hammond, Allan was a part of the Conservative core team. His sudden departure, just weeks before a general election, is another signal of crisis in Downing Street:
Hayden Allan, special adviser to the Chancellor and a big Tory figure for over a decade, to depart. Statement: pic.twitter.com/lZrQ3UuxIC
— Sam Coates Times (@SamCoatesTimes) April 24, 2017
Wow! A third senior Tory Special Advisor has just walked out. Total Chaos in Tory HQ. So much for Strong & Stable….
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) April 24, 2017
The resignation is the third within a week of the election being announced.
Days ago, the Prime Minister lost Lizzie Loudon.
Lizzie Loudon was to Theresa May as Alastair Campbell was to Tony Blair. Conservative magazine The Spectator described her as “No 10’s secret weapon”. She is widely respected, and was an integral member of May’s team. But she was always going to have her work cut out with the Conservative Prime Minister, whose approach to public engagement seems to be nil:
New: PM's ace press secretary Lizzie Loudon has quit.
— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) April 21, 2017
Has been on the cards. Was known to be unhappy. Theresa May's inner circle now the size of a Polo mint. https://t.co/pUuIw72MEF
— Kevin Schofield (@PolhomeEditor) April 21, 2017
Exodus of capable staffers from Theresa May's top team does not give the sense of a confident government with a positive vision, does it?
— Conor Pope (@Conorpope) April 21, 2017
Days earlier, the Prime Minister’s Director of Communications also resigned. Katie Perrior was another member of May’s dream team, hired alongside Loudon less than a year ago.
The Prime Minister speaks a lot about the need for strong and stable government. Three high-profile walkouts in a week, however, don’t do much to inspire confidence in her on that count.
Theresa May’s election campaign
The opening days of May’s campaign have been calamitous. First, the PM decided she would refuse the TV debates. This led to ITV and opposition leaders placing the Prime Minister in an untenable position. May has barely been visible. And when she has, the results have been less than rousing:
Theresa May's speech sending waves of inspiration & hope through this joyous working class crowd. pic.twitter.com/ZnmEXZu745
— joe heenan (@joeheenan) April 20, 2017
Meanwhile, the opposition leaders have been hitting the road, creating excitement around their campaigns. And there has been a surge in bets for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to become the next Prime Minister. A poll of over 165,000 viewers on ITV‘s This Morning concluded with 68% of viewers wanting to see Corbyn in Number 10. Just 19% wished to see Theresa May win the general election.
Theresa May called the snap election hoping that positive polling and a media universally hostile to her opponent would guarantee victory. The PM has made a political gamble. By winning an election pre-Brexit, she would avoid a potential ouster as a hard Tory Brexit becomes reality. But just days into the campaign, it’s becoming clear that this election is no cake walk. UK voters finally have a real choice at the ballot box.
Between her callous policies and refusal to engage with those outside the Westminster bubble, Theresa May is making that choice easier for many people.
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