THERESA May appeared to come down on the side of business at Prime Minister’s Questions when she distanced herself from the Anglo-Saxon language used by Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, to describe those manufacturers, like Airbus, who are becoming increasingly vocal with their demands for Brexit clarity.
It’s why the whole Cabinet, and not just members of her Brexit ‘inner circle’, will attend a special meeting at Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country retreat, on Friday week to discuss their policy differences – Mrs May clearly hopes this is the best way of securing a pro-business policy position.
After all, the biggest threat to the Prime Minister is her own Cabinet rather than Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose support for Airbus was contradicted by his opposition to Heathrow Airport’s third runway.
This was highlighted with Treasury chief secretary Liz Truss mocking, in an astonishing attack, the posturing of ‘macho’ male Ministers whom she effectively accused of putting their future leadership prospects before the public finances. In doing so, she revealed the extent to which collective Cabinet responsibility has broken down after Ministers concluded – rightly or wrongly – that Mrs May is on borrowed time. And therein lies the rub. The longer Mrs May indulges the disloyalty of Mr Johnson and others, the less likely she is to be taken seriously.