Belfast Telegraph

Tories are authors of their own misfortune

A weekly column by the Press Association's veteran political insider

By Chris Moncrieff

Can Theresa May survive this grim threat to her own future and that of the Tory party? She could be out on her ear sooner rather than later, with Jeremy Corbyn waiting in the wings, ready to pounce.

It is not exactly hero to zero, but Theresa May's authority has been seriously depleted, not simply by her catastrophic decision to hold a snap General Election, but also what was considered an inadequate, even cold, response to the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Now even her future as Prime Minister is seriously under question after barely a year at 10 Downing Street.

The Tories have only themselves to blame. They grotesquely underestimated Jeremy Corbyn's political acumen and followed slavishly the naive and frankly useless advice from outside "experts" on how to run the election campaign, instead of relying on their own instincts.

Corbyn successfully tapped into the youth vote and now he is to appear at the Glastonbury Festival. Things could hardly look bleaker for the Tories.

The truth is, the Tories seemingly did all the wrong things after Grenfell, while Corbyn, seen hugging survivors, did all the right ones.

It seems cruel, even obscene, to equate Grenfell with political point-scoring, but Corbyn was easily the winner.

Now, to add to May's woes, there is already talk of a Tory leadership contest.

Let us park Theresa May for a while. She once described the Tories as the Nasty Party. But for the Really Nasty Party, I would instantly plump for the Liberal Democrats, whose leader Tim Farron was virtually hounded out of the job by colleagues because of his Christian principles on abortion and homosexuality. I wish he would have stood up to these bullies, but he felt he could not lead the party in these circumstances.

It must have been all the more galling for him to be attacked by David Laws, of all people, who was sacked from the Cabinet after 17 days for a breach of the expenses rule.

If these critics think they have won a great victory, they are wrong.

They have shown themselves to be totally unworthy of the claim to be liberal - with either a capital, or a small, L.

Cynical comment of the week? Sir Vince Cable could become a candidate for the Liberal Democrat leadership at the age of 74.

One wag commented: "By the time of the next General Election, he will be 74-and-a-half ..."

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