Tory MPs attack Cameron after Mitchell 'meltdown'

Oct 21, 2012

The PM is under fire from his own party after resignation of Chief Whip comes too late

DAVID CAMERON is facing concerted rebellion from within his own party after the Chief Whip, Andrew Mitchell, resigned despite enjoying his support. The Prime Minister has been accused by one anonymous former minister of heading a government in "meltdown" and by veteran former cabinet miniser Lord [Norman] Tebbit of leading a "dog" of a coalition government.

Tory MPs are said to be angry that Cameron did not fire Mitchell when it emerged he had sworn at policemen who refused to allow him to take his bicycle through the gates at Downing Street. Instead, the PM defended Mitchell for four weeks.

According to The Observer, the Chief Whip decided himself he had to step down when he discovered a "youth revolt" against him - a lack of support for his position among MPs from the 2010 intake.

But Cameron is also under fire from senior figures in the party. Lord Tebbit, writing for The Observer, said this "dog of a coalition government" seemed "unable to manage its affairs competently" and added that the PM needed to instil "some managerial discipline not just on his colleagues but on himself".

The Sunday Times reports that "several cabinet ministers, including Iain Duncan Smith" have privately criticised the handling of Plebgate. One un-named "former minister" told the paper the situation was a "meltdown".

The Sunday Times says Cameron is being criticised for employing young, privileged "public school" advisers who are out of touch with the real world. The embarrassing row over chancellor George Osborne sitting in a first class train seat without a first class ticket was made worse by an aide telling train staff Osborne couldn't possibly sit in standard.

The PM is also being slated for the unravelling of a series of key announcements, the paper says. Most recently, he appears to have been forced to backtrack on a promise he made last week to force energy firms to offer customers the best tariffs.

The Observer reports that Cameron will fight back this week with a major speech on Monday on crime, signalling the end of his moderate "hug a hoodie" days with a "tough but intelligent" approach including tougher sentences for people carrying guns and life sentences for gun dealers.

If the results of a new poll carried out for the paper by Opinium are right, Cameron has a deal of ground to make up. The survey put Labour at 40 per cent, nine points ahead of the Tories.

Sign up for our daily newsletter