Former No10 spin chief launches furious attack on 'childish' Theresa May aides
Theresa May's former top spin doctor has launched a furious attack on the Prime Minister's "rude, abusive and childish" chiefs of staff.
Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill have come in for sustained criticism from senior Conservatives for the influence they exert over Mrs May.
In particular, they have been blamed by many Tories for the disastrous general election campaign which saw the party lose its Commons majority.
Writing in The Times, Katie Perrior - who worked alongside Mr Timothy and Mrs Hill for a "painful" 10 months when she was the Downing Street director of communications - suggests the Prime Minister should ditch the pair as she tries to save her premiership.
"The chiefs of staff were great street fighters but poor political leaders," she said. "Great leaders lead by bringing people with them, not alienating them before having even digested breakfast.
"What I could never work out was whether Mrs May condoned their behaviour and turned a blind eye or didn’t understand how destructive they both were. For all the love of a hierarchy, the chiefs treated Cabinet members exactly the same — rude, abusive, childish behaviour.
"For two people who have never achieved elected office, I was staggered at the disrespect they showed on a daily basis. I never hated them. I felt sorry for them and how they measured success by how many enemies they had clocked up."
"Mrs May doesn’t need street fighters now, she needs people with charm and diplomacy to get her through the next few weeks and months."
Ms Perrior also revealed how Mrs Hill was slapped down by Theresa May on the day of the Copeland by-election - where the Conservatives pulled off a stunning upset by beating Labour - after she suggested Boris Johnson should be sent up to the seat.
"Fiona protested and the Prime Minister overruled her, saying: “Fiona, I’d like to know what the point of all this is. If Boris goes up there today, he will be in tomorrow’s papers and that will be too late. Anyone who knows anything about campaigning knows that", she said.
"The room fell silent. I wanted the floor to swallow me up. The prime minister had, for once, dared to raise her voice, a rare moment. Normally we would all sit there while Fiona would raise some batshit crazy idea and not say a word. This one clearly had the Prime Minister rattled."
Meanwwhile, senior Conservative MPs told the Daily Telegraph “the cabal at the top” around Mrs May must be punished for the Tory election campaign.
One Cabinet source said: "They are destroying our party."