The list grows by the day and it is indicative of the Prime Minister’s weakness that Priti Patel, who has tonight resigned from the post of International Development Secretary, thought she could run a freelance foreign policy without censure.
She would have resigned – or been sacked – straight away in any previous era for breaking diplomatic protocols and meeting the likes of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu without first informing the Foreign Office. A failure to disclose the full facts to Mrs May before flying to Africa for a visit which had to be aborted ultimately made her position untenable.
However, while Mrs May’s position is handicapped by Brexit and the delicate balances required if the Government is to survive until March 2019 when Britain leaves the EU, the actual calibre of ministers at the country’s disposal should be scrutinised.
How many would be employed by the most reputable companies? Perhaps half at best.
How many of the scandal-hit Ministers would have been recruited by the private sector if their character had been subjected to due diligence? Not many. Faith placed in the likes of Sir Michael Fallon, the now ex-Defence Secretary, looks even more misplaced.
And this does not reflect well on Mrs May as she struggles to enforce Cabinet basic discipline.
Promoting loyalists with little proven track record might help to shore up her position in the very short-term but what this country needs – and expects – is the best people for the job, starting now, so the UK is better-equipped to withstand an increasingly fragile economy and the small matter of Brexit.