October 18, 2017

Osborne says Tories need to ‘confront’ Theresa May’s leadership

George Osborne has urged the Conservative Party to “confront” the issue of Theresa May’s leadership, as he revealed he discussed the Prime Minister’s position with Cabinet ministers.

The former chancellor says there are “very serious challenges” facing the Government and Mrs May after the Tories lost their Commons majority at June’s General Election.

Mr Osborne, who became editor of London’s Evening Standard newspaper after being sacked from the Treasury by Mrs May last year, also refused to rule out a return to politics.

“I don’t think you do a service to the party that I’m a member of, that I gave 25 years of my life to working for and promoting, by pretending there aren’t some very serious challenges that the Government faces and the leadership faces,” he said.

Speaking to journalist Andrew Neil at an event hosted by The Spectator magazine, Mr Osborne added: “Closing your eyes and hoping they’ll go away, or exalting people to unity doesn’t work in politics.

“You’ve got to have a clear plan, attempt to lead people in pursuit of that plan and that is what the Conservative Government needs to do.

The Prime Minister said she was providing calm leadership with the 'full support of my Cabinet'

May insists she has ‘full support of Cabinet’

“It’s no good the Conservatives saying, ‘Oh I wish we could all stop talking about it’, you can’t talk to a member of the Cabinet without talking about it.

“So, we’ve got to confront it, I want my party to do well, to win the next election.

“I don’t want Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister.”

Mr Osborne famously described Mrs May as a “dead woman walking” after the election.

On Thursday, he insisted he didn’t want to get into a “public slanging match” but added: “People are well aware of the things I think the Government needs to do.”

Having stood down from Parliament at the General Election, Mr Osborne said he is now concentrating on his newspaper job, as well as his other roles advising asset management firm BlackRock and a professorship at California’s Stanford University.

But, leaving the path open for a return to politics, he added: “I have a question in my own mind, which is ‘do I really want to go back?’

“I was there, I did it, I’m proud of what I did.

“I worry that would be a mistake (to return) – I don’t say never, because I think that’s foolish. I don’t rule it out.”

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