THERESA May deserves sympathy for the graceful manner in which tried to handle a traumatic Tory conference. If only the same could be said of some of the more treacherous in her party.
Like her predecessors – from both the Tory and Labour parties – who were afforded little or no respect at critical junctures in their tenures, Mrs May is still Prime Minister and, frankly, deserves better.
After all, it falls to Mrs May to implement Brexit, the most divisive issue of all, and it’s high time that her more unhelpful colleagues recognised the scale of the challenge and responsibility.
Yes, the job of Labour and the opposition parties is to oppose to criticise, to scrutinise and, where appropriate, to refine policy, but it falls to the Conservatives to govern, to lead and to reach out to others after June’s polarising election exposed the UK’s deep divisions.
Nevertheless it should be pointed out that Grant Shapps, the objectionable-sounding former party chairman, speaks for neither the country, nor the Conservative Party, as he plots against Mrs May.
An intervention that smacked of sour grapes because his Ministerial abilities have been declared surplus to requirements, the self-indulgent Mr Shapps – and his cohorts – should be putting the national interest first and offering constructive support.
Britain is already facing a race against time to complete its Brexit negotiations by March 2019 and simply can’t afford any more political distractions and upheavals if the country is to secure the best possible deal for all.
With the entire Cabinet said to be supportive of the Prime Minister, and Mrs May dutifully committed to providing “calm leadership”, her critics have two choices – to put up or to shut up. And, for the good of the country, they would be prudent to choose the latter, at least until Britain leaves the EU.