Belfast Telegraph

Chris Moncrieff: Tories who want an early election must heed John Major's warning: 'don't'

 

Jeremy Corbyn could succeed Theresa May as the next Prime Minister
Jeremy Corbyn could succeed Theresa May as the next Prime Minister
Jeremy Corbyn could succeed Theresa May as the next Prime Minister
David Cameron
Boris Johnson
Jacob Rees-Mogg

By Chris Moncrieff

It never rains but it comes down in bucket-loads for the Prime Minister. Every time Theresa May listens to a news bulletin she must assume that things could hardly get worse for her than they already have. Well, alas for her, that has happened.

It was the news, which just seemed to slip out, that Labour now lies five points ahead of the Conservatives in the opinion polls.

When, a few years ago, the arch Left-winger Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party the Tories were throwing their hats in the air and whooping with glee.

But that joy was shortlived. Ill-advisedly, May called a totally unnecessary general election, assuming that the Tories' slender majority in the Commons would expand to anything between 50 and 100 seats.

They believed (and indeed even some Labour MPs feared) that Corbyn would be routed at the polls.

But in the event the Conservatives lost their majority in the Commons and the so-called 'loser' Corbyn achieved almost pop star status.

In the ensuing months that popularity has not faded, even though his performances in the House of Commons have not, overall, been great.

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The Tories' general election campaign, led by the colourless May, was so pathetic as to be laughable.

And Corbyn, once briefly the laughing stock of Westminster, is now seen as a serious contender for the keys of Number 10. The Tories should be alarmed.

So, those reckless Conservative MPs who, despite all this, are still clamouring for an early general election would be well-advised to heed the unequivocal one-word advice of the former Tory Prime Minister Sir John Major.

It was simply: "Don't."

It has accurately been called the Parliament of Chaos and might equally be named the Parliament of Shame and Dishonour.

When the-then Prime Minister David Cameron called the EU referendum, Parliament solemnly promised to adhere to the result.

Well, that has not happened. To their great shame, many MPs have broken that promise and have done everything in their power to prevent the referendum majority from getting its rightful way.

This is simply a scandal and those guilty of this campaign should not be allowed to forget it.

There is, apparently, honour among thieves, but not among our so-called political elite.

The prospect of a Conservative Party leadership election merely has to be whispered before we are presented with unofficial lists of runners and riders as numerous as the field for the Grand National.

Two possible runners, Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg, have both in the past described the Prime Minister's withdrawal agreement as reducing the UK to an EU vassal state.

Suddenly, with the news that May could soon be leaving Downing Street, they have changed their tune.

Both have suddenly decided that her agreement would be better than nothing and have chosen to support it.

It is scarcely surprising, therefore, that the British electorate is becoming a trifle cynical.

I have spoken to many people who say they will never vote in a parliamentary election again.

What an indictment.

Over the past few months, amid all the turmoil of Brexit, numerous junior or middle-ranking ministers have either been sacked or resigned.

Yet the departments which each of these people represented seem to have bumbled along happily, without any serious handicap, without them. In short, the Prime Minister has barely bothered to replace them.

All of which makes you wonder why the taxpayer has to fork out these relatively high salaries for people whose presence, or absence, seems to make no difference at all.

Some years ago Belgium managed very nicely, thank you, without a government at all, while politicians argued endlessly over varying kinds of alliances to be able to form an administration with a working majority.

So, would anyone be bothered or inconvenienced in even the slightest way if politicians decided to go on strike?

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