Sun, 5 February 2023

Newsletter sign-up

Subscribe now
The House Live All
Press releases

Theresa May tells feuding Tories to stop 'backbiting'

Theresa May tells feuding Tories to stop 'backbiting'

John Ashmore

2 min read

Theresa May has told her MPs to stop "backbiting" or risk helping Jeremy Corbyn into Downing St.

The Prime Minister addressed Tory MPs at a drinks reception last night following a weekend of intense briefing against Chancellor Philip Hammond.

Several stories appeared in the Sunday newspapers reporting remarks Mr Hammond had made in a Cabinet meeting, where he allegedly claimed public sector workers were "overpaid". 

At an event for the back bench 1922 Committee last night, Mrs May told MPs "no backbiting, no carping".

She told colleagues that "the choice is me or Jeremy Corbyn" and "nobody wants that" - a reference to the possibility of the Labour leader entering 10 Downing St.

And she urged her troops to take a "proper break" over the summer and "come back ready for serious business". 

Mrs May's spokesman also made clear she would be bringing a similar message to Cabinet colleagues, warning them that they must be able to conduct their meetings in confidence.

"Of course, cabinet must be able to hold discussions of government policy in private and the prime minister will be reminding her colleagues of that at the cabinet meeting tomorrow," he said.


Elsewhere an unnamed Cabinet minister launched a strongly-worded attack on colleagues involved in briefing.

The minister told the Times that other figures were acting like "proverbial donkeys" and “able to behave like indulgent safe-seat kids, not worrying about the impact of their behaviour".

The source added that the manoeuvring was strengthening the feeling among MPs that certain ministers should be sacked. 

“They are creating the parliamentary party mood for a full reshuffle to remove them and then have a relaunch."

Another minister said the briefings were the result of “stupid games, whether by Brexiteers or free-spending departmental ministers”.

PoliticsHome Newsletters

PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe


Political parties