Politics

Tory MPs Tweet The Similar ‘The PM Means Enterprise’ Social gathering Line – However No-One Is Fooled

Tory MPs have dutifully fallen into line following a night of high political drama – but the latest iteration of Operation Save Big Dog was arguably the least subtle.

On Thursday, Boris Johnson – aka Big Dog – was rocked by the resignations after four senior aides on the same day as the fall-out from partygate continued.

The exit of No 10 chief of staff Dan Rosenfield and Johnson’s principal private secretary, Martin Reynolds, followed director of communications Jack Doyle in resigning, along with Munira Mirza, who is one of the PM’s most loyal and longstanding advisers. She walked out over the “scurrilous” Jimmy Savile smear against Labor Keir Starmer.

But rather than being portrayed as a disaster for the Conservatives – the Daily Mail front page screamed ‘Meltdown In Downing Street’ – the party’s whipping operation wanted to give it a different spin.

HuffPost UK’s political editor, Kevin Schofield, reported a leak from the Conservative MPs’ WhatsApp group, which included instructions on what the party line should be.

A message in the group read: “See Stewart’s tweet acknowledging the change promised on Monday is now underway. Please do retweet – or better still craft your own short tweet. Let’s show everyone that the PM means business.”

“Stewart’s tweet” referred to the comment from Stuart Anderson, the Tory MP for Wolverhampton South West since 2019. He wrote: “On Monday Boris Johnson promised MPs change. Tonight we see that change starting to happen and I welcome this quick action by the Prime Minster.”

On Monday @BorisJohnson promised MPs change.

Tonight we see that change starting to happen and I welcome this quick action by the Prime Minster

— Stuart Anderson MP (@Stuart4WolvesSW) February 3, 2022

Commentators were unimpressed.

When your Head of Policy quits in protest at what you’ve said & your Chancellor refuses to back your words & 3 key aides resign that means many things. One thing it really does not show is that “the PM means business” https://t.co/ofovGoIYxg

— Nick Robinson (@bbcnickrobinson) February 3, 2022

I see some Conservative MPs are being tempted by the shadow whipping operation to suggest Munira was part of a planned clear out. It reflects badly on them and badly on whoever approves such lines.

— Nikki da Costa (@nmdacosta) February 3, 2022

Whether or not they were inspired by “Stewart’s tweet”, Tory MPs quickly adopted a form of words likely to please party enforcers given their remarkable similarity.

Spot the difference between Michael Fabricant’s “The PM promised changes to the No10 operation at the 1922 on Monday, and it’s good to see action is now swiftly being taken” and Joy Morrissey’s “The PM promised changes to the No10 operation earlier this week, glad to see him delivering tonight.”

The PM promised changes to the No10 operation at the 1922 on Monday, and it’s good to see action is now swiftly being taken.

— Michael Fabricant 🇬🇧 (@Mike_Fabricant) February 3, 2022

The PM promised changes to the No10 operation earlier this week, glad to see him delivering tonight.

— Joy Morrissey MP (@joymorrissey) February 3, 2022

Earlier this week the PM promised the Parliamentary Party swift and decisive change at No.10 to get us back on course and focused on people’s priorities – pleased to see true to his word he’s delivering.
Lots of work to do, time to crack on with the day job.

— Chris Clarkson MP (@ChrisClarksonMP) February 3, 2022

The PM is taking swift action to shake things up whilst others continue to dwell on their own priorities, we are getting on with it and focusing on the priorities of the people we represent. Building a strong team is vital to that and great to see this is happening so quickly https://t.co/SX7zS3NBEa

— Brendan Clarke-Smith MP (@Bren4Bassetlaw) February 3, 2022

But not every Conservative was on the same page.

Good and it’s about time. If they had any honor they would have resigned before – rather than allow rotten, filthy briefings to Sunday papers and give false assurances and for this mess to go on and on. https://t.co/D99lpDrecB

— Chris Loder MP (@chrisloder) February 3, 2022

And, inevitably, the Tory party became an object of ridicule.

can you tweet something like

the pm promised changes and tonight he has delivered

— joe (@mutablejoe) February 3, 2022

“Earlier this week the PM promised the Parliamentary Party swift and decisive change at No.10 to get us back on course and focused on people’s priorities – pleased to see true to his word he’s delivering.
Lots of work to do, time to crack on with the day job.” pic.twitter.com/sNkQr9nXYR

— Mo’ (@mocent0) February 3, 2022

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