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

Theresa May tells Bercow:

“Mr Speaker-elect, can I congratulate you on your re-election. At least someone got a landslide.”

Sponsors

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.
Meltdown After Nuclear Power Plant Holds Bikini Contest to Choose Interns Meltdown After Nuclear Power Plant Holds Bikini Contest to Choose Interns
DUP Deal Signed DUP Deal Signed
Watch: McDonnell on Grenfell ‘Murder’ Watch: McDonnell on Grenfell ‘Murder’
Sunday Shows Sunday Shows
The Economist’s Lack of Intelligence Unit The Economist’s Lack of Intelligence Unit
Happy Independence Day! Happy Independence Day!
Sun Cleared by Hospital Sun Cleared by Hospital
Exporters Order Books at 29 Year High Exporters Order Books at 29 Year High
Corbyn Refuses to Bow to The Queen Corbyn Refuses to Bow to The Queen
McDonnell Repeatedly Backed Far Left ‘Day of Rage’ Group McDonnell Repeatedly Backed Far Left ‘Day of Rage’ Group
“Soft” and “Hard” Brexit Terms Obsolete “Soft” and “Hard” Brexit Terms Obsolete
Hammond’s “Sound Money” Speech Sadly All Spin Hammond’s “Sound Money” Speech Sadly All Spin
Tommy Robinson Called British Muslims “Enemy Combatants” Tommy Robinson Called British Muslims “Enemy Combatants”
Corbyn Praised at London Hezbollah Rally Corbyn Praised at London Hezbollah Rally
Government Understaffed – Key SpAd Vacancies Up for Grabs Government Understaffed – Key SpAd Vacancies Up for Grabs
Clive Lewis: “Burn Neoliberalism” Clive Lewis: “Burn Neoliberalism”
Corbynista Ultras Involved in Storming Kensington Council Corbynista Ultras Involved in Storming Kensington Council