James O'Brien's Devastating Take On The Cabinet After Esther McVey Apology
4 July 2018, 16:50
After Esther McVey apologised to the House for misleading Parliament, this is James O'Brien's devastating take on the state of the Cabinet.
The Work and Pensions Secretary was told that parts of her statement about Universal Credit were incorrect and unproven.
And James said this shows the classic concepts of Collective Cabinet Responsibility and Individual Ministerial Responsibility are dead.
He said: "There are some invisible conventions that hold our democracy together. Collective cabinet responsibility is one of them. That is the idea that everyone in the Cabinet, after a period of debate and reflection, will agree to pursue a given policy.
"Boris Johnson has made a complete mockery of collective responsibility. So much so that this week, you had the incredibly unedifying sight of a Foreign Secretary offering up support for the ludicrous Ree-Moggian criticisms of Theresa May, while Ministers in his own department were offering up public criticism of the ludicrous Ree-Moggian criticism of Theresa May.
"Individual cabinet responsibility, which I think was last seen in action in the wild, you might correct me on this, when Peter Carrington resigned after the Argentinians invaded the Falkland Islands. So you're going back to 1982. I think that was the last time a Minister said "I didn't know anything about this. It's not my fault the Argentinians invaded the Falkland Islands. But I'm the Foreign Secretary." He resigned because it happened on his watch.
"Under Theresa May, you have Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, telling the media that the trains have nothing to do with him. That's individual Ministerial responsibility, Chris Grayling-style. And of course, he moved to Transport after making a complete kebab of the Prisons and Probation Service.
"If Esther McVey keeps her job, it's an absolute trashing of the Ministerial code.
"Wilfully misleading Parliament. That's what Damian Green lost his job for, remember? Wilfully misleading Parliament, that's what she's done."