Safe to say Tory MPs haven’t been this angry or depressed about the party’s decision making and leadership for a long time. The mood in parliament today is closer to that of a victim’s refuge than the home of democracy. One MP ranted to Guido, with agreement from another, that a 1922 Committee meeting should have been called for tonight with someone senior – Boris, Mark Spencer or Rees-Mogg – turning up to give a grovelling apology. When asked during a pool interview this morning if he’d apologise for the Paterson debacle, Boris merely said “I don’t think there is much more to be said about that particular case.”
One MP grumbled that the only communication they’ve had from their whip was a demand to be in parliament today for a three line whip, and nothing by way of asking how they were coping with last week’s fall-out, nor how they were now feeling – despite pastoral care supposedly being a primary function of the government’s whipping operation in 2021. One MP noted how a year ago their whip had started calling them on a Saturday afternoon to catch up and ask how they were, however that’s long since stopped. Eyebrows were further raised when the MP vote breakdown on the Paterson motion came out, and three whips hadn’t voted. One MP claimed to Guido that theirs had been spotted at the Red Lion during the division.
Meanwhile the anger isn’t just aimed at the whips. Over in the Tory “One Nation” WhatsApp chat group Tobias Ellwood shared his Sun op-ed, entitled “A PM who takes the Mother of Parliaments for granted will achieve nothing”. Presumably Ellwood was hoping for support, however one minister fired back:
“Tobias – I have just read your article. It is self centered [sic], unhelpful and without even a decent argument for reform.”
Another MP said most of the WhatsApp group wanted Tobias to “shut the f**k up”. Happy families…