Beware the powerful back-benchers!

Over the course of the week new Prime Minister Theresa May completed her first Cabinet. There were several notable appointments, with Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary possibly the most eye-catching. A decision which caused consternation with in both this country and in Europe. Amber Rudd took over Theresa May’s old role as Home Secretary and Philip Hammond replaced George Osborne in the Treasury.

The other major story from the reshuffle was the brutal treatment of the modernising wing and those close to Cameron. There was no place for the likes of Nicky Morgan, George Osborne, Michael Gove, Oliver Letwin and Ed Vaizey, all of whom have had big roles in the Cameron project and will now sit on the back-benchers. Gove was allegedly told being on the back-benches would be a good opportunity to show loyalty and Ed Vaizey made it very clear that this was not a good time to be a ‘Cameroon’.

As the new Prime Minister it is Theresa May’s prerogative to choose her Cabinet and select the team she wants. It is also worth noting that in these situations, you cannot keep everyone happy. Politicians are very ambitious and all believe they warrant promotions and can do a job better than the current incumbents. There will always be those who feel badly treated. Tory MP James Cleverly summarises the mood of many back-benchers succinctly in this tweet.

May is in her honeymoon period as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservatives, but this will not last forever and ought to be careful not to make too many enemies, especially powerful ones. The Tory modernises are very proud of what they have achieved in government and will want to see the party continue to move in this direction and not swing back to the right.

In her opening few days and in her first speech as Prime MinisterTheresa May has indicated she wants to follow this tradition praising the achievements of David Cameron. However in these instances, actions will speak louder than words. If May fails to back up her words with actions than these powerful figures could make life very difficult for her and with a small majority this could be very dangerous. There could be a new awkward squad on the back-benchers.

Article by Mike Hough

Photograph – Sky News

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