Ken Clarke Attacks Tory Right and Reshuffle Tells Allies: "The Party Has Accidentally Drifted to the Right"

Speaking to those subversive wets of the Tory Reform Group at the Carlton Club last night, Ken Clarke displayed some characteristic candour. Reports from the room suggest that Ken was rightly introduced as the “only cabinet minister to lead us out of a recession”, but he quickly veered off message and rambled away:

“So now we’ve had the usual comic shambles that happens after every reshuffle… This has been my umpteenth reshuffle… I deny any suggestion that I got that job because I’ve had all the rest of them. My job will be to slot into the bewildering range of things that the government is doing… I’ll be dealing with the alphabet soup.”

Joking aside, Clarke’s insight into his role is rather telling:

Now George wants me in to keep an eye on Vince and Vince wants me in to keep an eye on George… We’ve got a deficit the size of Greece, we’ve got a real job on our hands… I don’t want to bring too much gloom, but it will be a long haul.” 

He doesn’t seem too bothered about having two masters, and why might that be? Apparently:

“the party has accidentally drifted to the right”.

He also noted that Cameron was having to lead “with the right acting up again” and Guido understands that there was a plea “to keep the centre ground, where elections are won”. The number of Clarke’s ilk in the ranks has greatly diminished since the last time he went into battle with his own party. 

Picture via @timothy_barnes. Quotes via @asabenn

UPDATE: Ken Clarke’s office are kicking back hard on some of this. They seem to be blaming tweeters in the room for distorting what Clarke was saying, though he does not deny attacking the right, or the his interesting choice of words like “bewildering range” and “alphabet soup”:

“These tweets give the opposite impression to the serious points I clearly made.  It is slightly altered little phrases taken from different jokes and put together. I made the case for a successful coalition and stated there was no ideological divide within it on economic policy.  On the economy I stressed that we were in for the long haul and that the Chancellor’s approach is the right one.  I also said in passing that the reshuffle should not be interpreted as a shift to the right.  Twitter is not renowned as an accurate form of reporting, but even I am surprised at distortions on this sort of scale.”

Seems someone is keeping an eye on Ken keeping an eye on George. 




Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

Quote of the Day

Jeremy Corbyn:

“I’m not a defender or supporter of ISIS.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.

Facebook

Esther McVey for Tatton Esther McVey for Tatton
Zac Back? Zac Back?
UKIP’s Islamo-Banifesto UKIP’s Islamo-Banifesto
Karen Danczuk Seeks Selection in Bury Karen Danczuk Seeks Selection in Bury
Corbyn and Sturgeon At Same Event Corbyn and Sturgeon At Same Event
Updates: Who’s Standing? Who’s Standing Down? Updates: Who’s Standing? Who’s Standing Down?
Tories Mistakenly Share Private Conference Call PIN with Opposition Tories Mistakenly Share Private Conference Call PIN with Opposition
Len and Seamus’s Champaign Celebration Len and Seamus’s Champaign Celebration
Campaign Report: 48 Days To Go Campaign Report: 48 Days To Go
Campaign Report: 49 Days to Go Campaign Report: 49 Days to Go
Listen: Dawn Butler Car Crash Interview Listen: Dawn Butler Car Crash Interview
Manifesto Lookahead: Six Tory Policies in Peril Manifesto Lookahead: Six Tory Policies in Peril
McVey for Upminster? McVey for Upminster?
Watch: Corbyn Crowd Boos and Shouts Down ITV Question Watch: Corbyn Crowd Boos and Shouts Down ITV Question
Coalition of the Others Still Behind Tories Coalition of the Others Still Behind Tories
NEC Swerves Corbyn Loyalty Pledge NEC Swerves Corbyn Loyalty Pledge
Watch: Barry Gardiner Loses It on Sky News Watch: Barry Gardiner Loses It on Sky News
CCHQ Caught on Hop: Not Enough Tory Candidates CCHQ Caught on Hop: Not Enough Tory Candidates
Campaign Report – 50 Days to Go Campaign Report – 50 Days to Go
PMQs Sketch PMQs Sketch