Who on earth would want to be Prime Minister? Permanently in the public eye, and endlessly scrutinised by your own back benchers and ministers. Monday’s vote of confidence in Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party just goes to show how tough things can get.
Of course, Boris won the vote by an OK margin, but there is something faintly comic about Johnson loyalists coming out and saying that a 59% support of the PM is a resounding result, when those self-same individuals claimed Theresa May was holed below the water line with her 64% support back in 2018.
The Prime Minister has won the vote and deserves to be given a chance to prove himself. Rebels and loyalists alike will be looking to see how he uses his opportunity to prove himself; how he is establishes confidence across the whole of the party.
I have no particular insight, but an early reshuffle of ministers may go a long way to starting the healing process. Proving that competence is more important than loyalty is important, including having those who have the confidence to speak truth to power.
Tackling head on the cost-of-living crises is an absolute necessity. Managing a supply side inflation shock can only achieved with supply side measures. Cutting VAT on fuel will go a long way to making energy more affordable and drive down transportation costs for food distribution.
However, the problems in the economy run deeper, with tight supply of Labour. There are more vacancies in the job market than people seeking work. This has the potential to drive up labour costs and heap on the pressure for stagflation – high inflation during a stagnant economy.
But the PM must define what a 21st Century Conservative Government stands for. There is a lot of investment into the NHS and that is a good thing. But we also have the highest tax burden in a generation and that needs to be tackled. Conservatives stand for low tax, high productivity economics, that brings prosperity to all.
Similarly, the levelling up agenda needs to define exactly how we will make sure the economic miracle will help people living in Wyre Forest. I have every confidence that we can make the difference, but that needs to be delivered and communicated properly.
A vote of confidence is a landmark event in a prime minister’s term of office. Ultimately, all PMs go, but they do deserve the opportunity to define their departure.