To lose one secretary of state is unfortunate. To lose two is incompetent. But three? In two months? Theresa May might well be heading for a record. Yet despite this, some journalists would like UK voters to believe this all adds up to a win for the Prime Minister.
In November, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon resigned over allegations of sexual impropriety. He was followed out of the door by Priti Patel, after the International Development Secretary held a series of secret meetings with Israeli authorities. And now, May has sacked Damian Green for lying about allegations that he had porn on his office computer.
By anyone’s standards, an inglorious series of events. And in all of them, May dragged her feet. With Green and Patel in particular, the PM backed both until forced to do otherwise.
Yet for some journalists, this is what it looks like when May is winning.
Former BBC political editor Nick Robinson described it as a show of strength:
Theresa May is clearly feeling strong enough to sack* her deputy. Damian Green didn’t want to go, he didn’t plan to go & many at top of govt thought he was safe. (*Officially he was “asked to resign” for issuing misleading statements)
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— Nick Robinson (@bbcnickrobinson) December 20, 2017
Mail columnist and rabid anti-Corbyn writer Dan Hodges also had admiration for the PM:
Argument May authority is seriously damaged by Green resignation is rubbish. Even close friends of Green have acknowledged he gave her no choice, and that she dealt with his case fairly.
— (((Dan Hodges))) (@DPJHodges) December 21, 2017
Former political editor for The Independent on Sunday Jane Merrick virtually penned the PM a love letter:
She watched her closest aides quit after election and has now forced resignation of her closest political friend, on important points of principle. I think that makes her stronger, not weaker.
— Jane Merrick (@janemerrick23) December 20, 2017
Their message was identical to the senior Conservatives filling media slots the morning after the sacking.
No one is buying what you’re selling
The spin effort did not pay off. Members of the public took to social media to air their views; with many expressing frustration at being told black is white and up is down by a press pack gone mad:
— Martin Abrams 🐝🌹 (@Martin_Abrams) December 21, 2017
If you want a case study of how much easier politics is when you’ve got servile media message-carriers, witness how journos from the tabloids and the BBC have impacted the narrative by repeating the Conservative spin: “Damian Green’s sacking shows Theresa May is strong” 🚮
— Matt Zarb-Cousin (@mattzarb) December 21, 2017
Whatever the Conservative Party and its friends in the press are trying to sell, Britain isn’t buying it.
– You can read more from The Canary on Theresa May here.
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