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One can only hope that Mr Young (right) did not compose this particular tweet about Mrs May (left).

It was all looking so hopeful at first.

The Mail on Sunday, of all organs, published the following headline, and many critics formed the obvious conclusion:

Then Theresa May appeared on The Andrew Marr Show and threw everything into reverse.

Theresa May has backed Toby Young to continue in his new role with the higher education watchdog, despite mounting pressure to sack him over a series of misogynistic and homophobic tweets.

Mr Young was forced to explain why he had posted messages commenting on the appearance of women’s breasts, described gay singer George Michael as “queer as a coot” and written a story about dressing up as a lesbian in which he referred to gay women as “hardcore dykes”.

The Prime Minister admitted she was “not at all impressed” by the right-wing journalist’s previous remarks but suggested she would not reverse his appointment to the Office for Students board.

So, never mind that he’s habitual; Mrs May has let him off. Cue the crescendo of disgust:

Did Paul Mason have a point when he tweeted the following?

If so, then the Labour Whips’ tweet might have been closer to the mark than they thought when they published it:

Plus, of course, Mr Young wasn’t actually employed by Theresa May:

So this episode shows that Theresa May simply doesn’t have the clout – in her own government – to get rid of this crippling humiliation.

Ah! So that’s the problem. Get rid of Toby Young and she’d have to get rid of Johnson and Gove. She’d also have to disown some fairly influential Tory media types (and Dan Hodges):

With a reshuffle coming up, Mrs May actually has a golden opportunity to clear out these thugs, creeps, misogynists, parasites and hangers-on.

Instead, national – and indeed international – embarrassement Theresa May seems more likely to promote them.

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