Theresa May’s Cabinet is “the worst in recorded history” and no serving minister should be PM after Brexit, ex-Tory MP Nick Boles has said in a scathing attack on the government.
The Grantham and Stamford MP said ministers had been “selfish”, were guilty of following blind “dogma”, had been “cowardly” and had “failed to lead”.
And in a thinly veiled swipe at former allies Michael Gove and Sajid Javid - both hotly-tipped to replace May - he said not one minister had “earned the right to lead the country”.
It comes after Boles resigned the Conservative whip on Monday night after the soft Brexit ‘Common Market 2.0’ plan he was championing in the ‘indicative votes’ process was defeated.
Boles said there were some “fine people” serving as ministers for May, but added: “This is the worst Cabinet collectively of any in my lifetime and I think probably any in recorded history.”
He went on to say that were he still a Conservative member, he would have rejected any serving minister were they to run for party leader and PM, adding: “It should not be who is or has been in the Cabinet since 2017.
“None of them in my view has earned the right to lead the country after Brexit.
“They are all compromised by their collective failure to lead, to unite, to get behind one plan, to sell that plan, to communicate.
“They have all put themselves first. They have been cowardly when they should have been brave. They have been selfish when they should have been cooperative. None of them should be PM after Brexit.”
After Boles’ shock resignation from the Conservatives, which followed his local party backing a different candidate for the next election, Boles fumed at his colleagues’ inability to compromise.
“It is profoundly depressing when you find that the parties you don’t belong to are more open to conversation, more open to compromise,” he said, praising the SNP and Labour frontbench for switching position on Brexit.
David Cameron’s former skills minister, who campaigned for Remain, was also scathing about Brexiteers’ influence on his former party.
“It is dogma,” he said. “Dogma has entered the soul of the Conservative Party and it is gripping it like a vice and will not let go.”
Under Boles’ Common Market 2.0 proposal, the UK would leave the EU, but retain freedom of movement and make contributions to the EU budget.
It lost by 282 votes to 261. Separate plans for a confirmatory referendum and a customs union were also rejected.