To lose one Chancellor, as the PM did when Sajid Javid resigned in February 2020, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two, as Mr Johnson ponders matters, wouldn’t just be careless.
It would represent some of the very worst elements of Donald Trump’s tempestuous presidency when much-respected public servants were sacked at will – often on a whim – or their reputations were so undermined that they quit.
The dynamic between 10 and 11 Downing Street is the most important in government. It should the catalyst of sound decision-making. When it does go awry, the whole country can pay a heavy price.
But this relationship also depends on the careful management of public finances – one of Mr Johnson’s weaknesses – and Chancellors being respected by premiers when they feel the need to speak out, as Mr Sunak has now done over international travel.
And Mr Johnson’s child-like reaction appears to point to a premier who resents a Chancellor whose management of the public finances throughout the pandemic continues to be favourably received in spite of controversies like the Treasury vetoing extra catch-up funding for schools.
As such, the problem does not appear to be Mr Sunak. It is the apparent paranoia of a Prime Minister whose renowned inattention to detail is fuelling a leadership vacuum that risks compromising the country’s governance at such a critical time.
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