How nice to be vindicated by a new book – and written by a Tory aide, no less.
Vox Political readers may recall how This Writer pointed out that Theresa May was practically invisible during the EU referendum campaign, in an article earlier this month.
I was taken to task over it by some readers who thought it was unfair to compare the then-Home Secretary, who wasn’t a campaign leader, with Jeremy Corbyn – despite the fact that he wasn’t a campaign leader either (Alan Johnson led the Labour ‘In’ campaign).
Now David Cameron’s director of communications, Sir Craig Oliver, is publishing a book that confirms my point of view: Mrs May showed hardly any support for ‘Remain’, despite being nominally on David Cameron’s side – and only came “off the fence” after Cameron told her off on the telephone.
Considering her position on this graph of politicians’ EU referendum media appearances (she’s highlighted along with Jeremy Corbyn because the image is from a previous article comparing the two), she certainly doesn’t seem to have exerted herself:
Mrs May’s colleagues are rallying around her, according to the Daily Heil (and this is amusing in itself since the Heil‘s sister rag, the Wail on Sunday is publishing Sir Craig’s book in serial form).
So, what have we learned? That Vox Political is highly reliable, has its metaphorical finger on the proverbial political pulse and everybody should be reading it, certainly. This goes without saying but I wanted to rub it in.
And this episode has revealed cracks in the Conservative Party. Tories who have been slighted or sacked by Mrs May and her new team are waiting in the wings to drag her down – and it seems unlikely they will wait very long.
Former PM David Cameron felt “badly let down” by Theresa May during the EU referendum campaign, his former director of communications has said.
Sir Craig Oliver said the then home secretary failed to back the Remain campaign 13 times and was regarded by some as “an enemy agent”.
But the Tory Party chairman has leapt to the Prime Minister’s defence and said the claims were not “true at all”.
The claims are made in a book – Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story Of Brexit – serialised in the Mail on Sunday.
Sir Craig says Mrs May only came “off the fence” in favour of Remain after Mr Cameron became “visibly wound up” and gave her a dressing down over the telephone.
“Amid the murder and betrayal of the campaign, one figure stayed very still at the centre of it all – Theresa May. Now she is the last one standing,” wrote Sir Craig, who was Mr Cameron’s director of communications for five years.
Sir Craig’s book suggests Mr Cameron was left uncertain over whether Mrs May favoured staying in the European Union.
He said Mrs May was referred to dismissively by aides as “submarine May” during the campaign.
The then home secretary’s “sphinx-like approach” became difficult, he added in the book, as the press were questioning which way she would jump.
Sir Craig said matters finally came to a head after a newspaper warned Mr Cameron faced “last-minute opposition” from Mrs May to his deal for EU reform.
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