NADINE DORRIES: Chequers is May’s dementia tax revisited.

Chequers is May’s dementia tax revisited.

Chequers is May’s dementia tax revisited… and in a controversial intervention, top Tory NADINE DORRIES says she’s backing Boris

Just over two years ago, I was delighted when the Tories elected their second woman prime minister. 

Fast forward to today and for similar reasons I feel equally regretful to say that I believe Theresa May, if she doesn’t choose to resign, must be replaced and quickly.

The writing was on the wall when, entirely unnecessarily, she committed one of the biggest blunders in modern British political history. 

What was quickly called the ‘dementia tax’ – a controversial plan to shake up the way elderly care is funded – wasn’t just a shock to millions of voters, but appalled nearly every Tory minister, too.

Grassroots favourite: Boris, with chief whip Julian Smith, after their lunch yesterday

Mrs May thought she was just dropping another policy into the party’s 2017 election manifesto, but she was actually dropping a political bomb on to her party’s parliamentary majority and the careers and lifetime ambitions of many Tory candidates. 

She didn’t even ask her own health and local government ministers if they thought it was a good idea. It wasn’t, of course. It was a titanically awful idea.

It blew up in Mrs May’s face, has prolonged Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party because he wasn’t crushed at the election, and ended the Tories’ control both of Parliament and the Brexit process.

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To her credit, Mrs May took personal responsibility for the fiasco and told a post-election gathering of my fellow Conservative MPs that she’d caused the mess and she would dig the Government out of it. 

I was content to give her the benefit of the doubt at that time, but no longer. I’ve changed my mind because, while Mrs May overhauled her Downing Street inner circle, she hasn’t changed her ways. In fact, she has just gone and repeated the mistake of the dementia tax debacle.

Theresa May’s Chequers plan for Brexit was put together secretly, without the knowledge or input of her key ministers

Her Chequers plan for Brexit was put together secretly, without the knowledge or input of her key ministers. And it’s déjà vu all over again.

Leavers and Remainers throughout the country oppose what emerged from her Downing Street bunker. Brussels isn’t happy either – rejecting the plan last week. She has lost support in the polls. She’s lost experienced ministers after they resigned in despair; she has lost MPs, both Leave and Remain supporters, and the nation has lost vital time in the negotiating window.

The PM seems completely blind to the consequences of playing the team game of politics in such a presidential way.

She announced that she’d be taking personal charge of the final stages of the Brexit process. Given the explosive nature of what she generates in her Downing Street bunker, I fear Brussels will bounce her into another big mistake in the final stages of negotiations.

I wish I hadn’t reached this conclusion about her, and I don’t for a moment pretend that Mrs May doesn’t have major qualities. I admire her doggedness, as most of the nation does. It stems from the ethos of public service she learned from her father, a clergyman. And she has done many good things in No.10. 

Her response to the poisoning scandal in Salisbury was a lesson in statesmanship, for example. An Iron Lady moment.

Overall, however, in a country that is as complex as ours, during times that are so challenging and given Brexit negotiations that matter so much, it’s vital we have a Government of all the talents and not just one. She really does exhibit a worrying disdain for the ideas of too many others.

Mrs May’s ‘dementia tax’ has prolonged Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party 

While I was not a great fan of George Osborne, his Northern Powerhouse project was truly of one-nation potential, but she’s downgraded it. 

She has rejected, or shown no interest in, the many good ideas that Vote Leave campaigners deployed to help win the referendum – such as cutting VAT on fuel. 

And she hardly uses Twitter, which is odd given that David Cameron exploited it so well, and he was the master communicator. 

If we are to prevent a disastrous Jeremy Corbyn premiership, we have no time to lose. Voters won’t believe us if we wait until the eve of the next election to make promises of change and trot out the tired line that we have lessons to learn.

We need a PM who will trust their Chancellor to deliver tax reform; a PM who’ll back a housing minister to end the crisis in affordable homes.

What we need is a premier who isn’t afraid of bold change, because if Tories don’t deliver change, the nation will turn to Jeremy Corbyn or some other populist figure to find it.

Mrs May hardly uses Twitter, which is odd given that David Cameron (pictured) exploited it so well, and he was the master communicator

My own choice for leader is Boris Johnson. Yes, many MPs nurturing their own political ambitions don’t want him, because like Churchill, he will run and run. But he was the man who delivered Brexit. (Sorry, Nigel Farage, it really wasn’t you).

And it matters to Boris that the promises made in that campaign – especially on NHS spending and immigration control – are met as quickly and fully as possible.

His loud critics who say they’ll leave the party if he succeeds Mrs May remind me of celebrities who insist they’ll leave the country if a general election result isn’t to their liking. Most end up staying.

Boris would need to put big figures from all wings of the party in top jobs, and preferably put Sajid Javid into No.11 – he is a man with vision and unparalleled fiscal ability. Boris won the Labour city of London twice, and delivered. During his time at City Hall, knife crime did not explode. Infrastructure projects such as Crossrail and the Olympics did not veer off course. Millions rallied to his call to back Brexit.

I’ve walked down many streets with politicians but Boris is the only one who has rock star status, and the only time I’ve been mobbed was with him.

He’s the man to seize the opportunities of Brexit and not drown in its short-term complexities.

I know he wants to give practical help for people who can’t afford a home and lack any job security – and put those policies at the heart of Government.

Tory MPs and other seemingly implacable opponents of the former foreign secretary need to dwell on that. We have almost run out of time. We have weeks to save the country – and Brexit.

Theresa May has to go, and MPs have to put personal ambition aside, do the right thing and put Boris to the membership to vote. 

Yesterday, he extended his lead as the preferred next party leader among Tory members, according to a poll for the website ConservativeHome.

If we don’t act, the winner will be Corbyn and the extremist groups that, throughout his political lifetime, he has befriended. No Tory should allow themselves to be an accomplice to that for the sake of their own personal ambition.


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