It has not been a good week for David Cameron. The newspapers have been full of speculation that Theresa May is after his job and a swaggering Ed Miliband exploited the reports to great effect during prime minister's questions. No wonder Cameron has urged voters to ignore the "rubbish" headlines.
In a party political broadcast released yesterday, Cameron focused on the personal qualities needed to lead the country. The strategy is no doubt informed by the Tory belief that while
However in a week that has seen the media awash with leadership chatter, the prime minister's words could also be seen as a reminder to his Tory colleagues of who is in charge.
"You’re not prime minister to be the good guy or the bad guy, the popular guy or the friendly guy. You’re there to be the guy to get the job done. So it’s vital to look to the horizon and not tomorrow’s headlines," Cameron said.
He added: "There’s a daily battle out there in politics, of this story and that event. It’s all rubbish."
Cameron's appeal that headlines be ignored may have been aimed at the voters, but it quite easily could have been directed at his restless backbenchers, maneuvering cabinet ministers as well as a reminder to himself.
Yesterday Miliband had one of his best prime minister's questions to date, in which he made fun of May's leadership ambitions and said Cameron's government was "falling apart".
According to The Guardian, Downing Street is "at war" over May's leadership ambitions.
The newspaper quotes one senior Tory and May critic as saying: "Theresa's not exactly measuring the curtains. But she does seem to be pacing the floor. Her team are a bunch of amateurs. They see The Thick of It as a training video."
Talk of May taking over from Cameron was given a boost after the home secretary gave a speech last weekend which ranged widely beyond her departmental brief. It was seen as an attempt to flesh out her broader vision for the party - something necessary for any potential leader to do.
According to the Daily Telegraph, May will attempt to stop the leadership chatter continuing into another week by restricting her speech at this weekend's Conservative Spring Forum to Home Office issues.