The Conservative Party’s Plan to Salt the Earth Before it Loses Power
Rishi Sunak's party is at its most dangerous when it is closest to defeat
The most revealing part of Rishi Sunak’s reshuffle this week was not the sacking of Suella Braverman, or even the appointment of David Cameron.
More important than either of these developments was the largely-missed exodus of a series of Sunak loyalists from his Cabinet.
Among the half a dozen announcing their retirement were the schools minister Nick Gibb, the transport minister Jesse Norman and the junior health minister Will Quince. In each case they justified their resignations, either by suggesting they wanted to concentrate on serving their constituents, or by claiming to seek new opportunities elsewhere.
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In reality, the real reason for their departures is somewhat different. With polls showing Conservative Party support is now below the level it was even when Sunak took over from Liz Truss, many of the party’s MPs are either putting all their efforts into clinging onto their seats, or have already given up all hope of doing so. Far from being a sign of a renewal, Sunak’s reshuffle helped reveal quite what desperate straits they are now in.
Yet as the Conservatives increasingly give up on clinging onto power, there are alarming signs that they are determined to salt the earth for all those who come after them.
Here’s why the real danger for the country now lies not in Sunak’s Government somehow remaining in office, but what it does before it is finally forced out.