What utter buffalo.
If these senior Tories don’t want to implement £12 billion of cuts, then the answer’s simple: Let them refuse.
And isn’t it strange how David Cameron wants to call his Conservatives a “One Nation” party, now that Ed Miliband, who took the slogan for Labour, has left the scene?
When the Conservative manifesto confirmed plans to cut £12bn from welfare, some senior Tories thought the party would never have to implement them.
They did not expect to win an overall majority and knew that the Liberal Democrats would accept only about £3bn of social security cuts in another coalition.
There was a natural deal to be done under which David Cameron backed down from £12bn of welfare savings and, in return, Nick Clegg let him have an in/out referendum on Europe. George Osborne could have filled the hole by raising taxes for the better off – and blaming it on the Lib Dems.
But now the Prime Minister and Chancellor have no excuses and must trim welfare by £12bn. It will not be easy.
And it could revive memories of the “nasty party” just when Mr Cameron, with an eye on the 2020 election, is relaunching the Tories as a “One Nation” party which champions working people.