A lonely Christmas at Downing Street

17 Dec 2016

Christmas could be lonely for Theresa May. She has been Prime Minister since June and relationships are already under strain.


At the EU summit on Thursday, a video was leaked of Theresa May looking around for another European Leader to talk to. It was like she had been invited to a friend’s birthday party, but only knew that one person. Of course the video paints a very stark picture of the fact that, internationally, the Prime Minister has no friends. Usually a new Head of Government or new Head of State is welcomed with open arms to gatherings of World Leaders. For Theresa May this simply hasn’t happened.


When Barack Obama was elected President of the United States in 2008, rivalry developed between global Leaders in the battle to be the first to host him overseas.


Gordon Brown won as London hosted the G20 summit in 2009. In the wake of the financial crash Brown made a role for himself on the world stage. He travelled numerous continents in a matter of days to see global action for the global economy.


Theresa May has failed to show this energy. Her slogans of, ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and ‘We’re going to make a success of it’ are falling on deaf ears, and the enthusiasm of her Government does not help the case.


Outside of Europe, Theresa May’s only hope is Donald Trump. Although, the fact he phoned nine other World Leaders before Theresa May after his election in November, raises the question of how close an ally he will be.


And even if Theresa May was to venture around some of the other Government departments along Whitehall on New Year’s Eve, it may be the case that she sings Auld Lang Syne alone. Her relationship with Chancellor Phillip Hammond has come under significant strain as the pair differ on the aim and outcome of Brexit negotiations. While Cameron and Osborne enjoyed a friendship both personally and professionally, this has not been emulated with May and Hammond.


Further along Whitehall, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is the Cabinet greyhound kept firmly on a lead. Numerous comments made by the Foreign Secretary have quickly been rebuked by Downing Street. It seems Boris sets off across the globe giving his own opinions, not the Government’s, which for a Foreign Secretary must be counterproductive. According to Oddschecker.com Boris is only narrowly behind Jeremy Corbyn in who will be the next Prime Minister. I suspect he will be too busy plotting a successful bid for the Conservative Leadership rather than celebrate the New Year with Theresa May.


I suggest that this Christmas, the Prime Minister has MPs like Peter Bone, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Sir Edward Leigh at the top of her Christmas card list. She may rely on them in 2017. 




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