The SKWAWKBOX revealed exclusively this morning that Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is ‘on manoeuvres’ – arranging a series of one-to-one meetings with senior regional Tories in what his colleagues consider preparations for a leadership bid.
It’s also a strong indication that a new general election is in the pipeline – senior Tories are saying that May is likely to resign if her Brexit deal is defeated in Parliament next week and she promised last month not to stand at the next election, to stave off a vote of no confidence by Conservative MPs.
But it’s not the only sign that the Tories are preparing for a new general election. Conservatives candidate selections are underway around the country and reports from residents even in reasonably safe Tory areas indicate that candidates and incumbents have been leafleting – suggesting not only election preparations, but also that the Tories don’t believe polls claiming they’re ahead.
And this morning, DWP Secretary Amber Rudd performed a screeching u-turn on government plans to take money away from parents of more than two children, as well as touting her ‘pilot’ that she claims will smooth the transition to Universal Credit for huge numbers of hard-hit people – plans expected to make no difference whatever to millions.
All this is icing on the cake of the fact that the Tories have told returning officers to get ready for a snap election.
A so-called “people’s vote” will not solve the parliamentary issues in time or do anything but inflame current divisions and tensions in the country – and there is no prospect of breaking the parliamentary deadlock. But it seems the Tories may be planning a new general election independent of the outcome of Labour’s intended no-confidence motion when May’s deal fails in the Commons next week.
Labour members who want to replace the numerous dire incumbents currently hampering the party in Parliament had better start identifying the candidates they want to replace them – and organising to win the one in three branches they need in order to initiate a contest.
The position Labour will be offering to the country will be a compelling and unifying one.
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