Chris Grayling makes Theresa May's life harder... again

MPs in the in the House of Commons: PA
MPs in the in the House of Commons: PA
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As if Theresa May hasn’t got enough on her plate.

Her Brexit plan is still in limbo, her party is deeply divided over Europe and she has apparently taken to scraping mould off her food before she eats it (according to the Daily Mail). At this particularly difficult time she needs her Cabinet to be firing on all cylinders, and what has she got instead? Chris Grayling.

At this week’s Prime Ministers questions, Jeremy Corbyn was the latest figure to have a pop at the hapless Transport Secretary, confronting May over the Seaborne Freight fiasco. And you have to worry when even Corbyn is laughing at your incompetence.

Grayling’s most recent bungle saw his department hire a firm with no ships to provide shipping services, before cancelling the contract after realising they probably couldn’t deliver. He brushed off criticism, claiming no money had been spent, although it later transpired that it had.

And as the Labour leader squared up to the Prime Minister in their weekly Commons battle, he was only too happy to lay out the litany of mistakes that were made, and to gleefully list Grayling’s extensive array of previous mishaps.

He told MPs: "The spectacular failure of this contract is a symptom Mr Speaker of the utter shambles of this government and its no-deal preparations.

"The Transport Secretary ignored warnings about drones and airport security, gave a £1.4bn contract to Carillion despite warnings over their finances, [and] he oversaw the disastrous new rail timetables last year.

"Rail punctuality at a thirteen-year low and fares at a record high. That is some achievement.

"And now the Transport Secretary in charge of a major and vital aspect of Brexit planning.

"How on earth - how on earth, Mr Speaker, can the Prime Minister say that she has confidence in the Transport Secretary?"

Despite relentless calls for him to go, the Transport Secretary will probably stay on - as he always seems to do. But given the challenges Mrs May is about to face as she attempts to get her Brexit deal over the line she’ll be hoping he can avoid an embarrassing debacle, for the next couple of PMQs sessions at least.