That text message from Nick Boles last night reveals the attitude of many Tory MPs towards Tory members and voters:
You are my friend. I respect the fact that you want Theresa May to be PM. It is overwhelmingly likely that she will be. And if she does I will sleep easily at night. But I am seriously frightened about the risk of allowing Andrea Leadsom onto the membership ballot. What if Theresa stumbles? Are we really confident that the membership won’t vote for a fresh face who shares their attitudes about much of modern life? Like they did with IDS. I am not asking you to respond unless you positively want to have a chat. But I hope that you will reflect on this carefully. Michael doesn’t mind spending 2 months taking a good thrashing from Theresa if that’s what it takes but in the party’s interest and the national interest surely we must work together to stop AL?
When the the text message became public he apologised.
I have apologised to @Gove2016 for the message I sent. He did not know about it let alone authorise it. And it does not reflect his views.
— Nick Boles (@NickBolesMP) July 6, 2016
Bolesy’s tactics backfired, with 60 votes up for grabs, Gove got 2 votes less in this round than in the last, perhaps he upset a couple of Gove’s Brexit backing MPs.
The fact is Tory MPs are generally more metropolitan than their supporters. Boles was deliberately targeting Tory MPs with liberal leanings who might fear that the members are going to get what they want, a Brexit-backing Conservative with traditional attitudes. The Tory establishment views Leadsom the same way it views the activists. As below the salt…