Nick Timothy, who has been a columnist in the Daily Telegraph since he quit as May’s chief of staff last year, wrote in his latest offering that the prime minister opposed the infamous vans when appeared on Britain’s streets in 2012, and was not consulted on their introduction as she was abroad.
“Today I revealed the truth,” the political operative-turned-journalist announced on Twitter earlier this week.
“TM was opposed to [the vans] and they were approved while she was on holiday.”
May is facing questions over why immigrants of the Windrush generation, who came to the UK from British colonies decades ago, are now facing deportation, and whether the “hostile environment” stance on immigration she oversaw as home secretary at the time played any part in it.
However, Business Insider reported today that not only had May approved the vans, she had intervened while on holiday, urging her department to “toughen up” the language.
A Home Office source told Business Insider that Timothy was being “either forgetful or untruthful”.
But if you who rushed to Twitter to ask Timothy for an explanation, you would have been disappointed - @NickJTimothy has disappeared.
Left-wing Twitter was also saddened to learn the man who wrote Theresa May’s “if you are a citizen of the world you are a citizen of nowhere” speech was gone.
And definitely didn’t find Timothy’s disappearance in the face of criticism hilarious.
For some it was too much, as another social media account wound down in the face of controversy.
If Timothy still has any access to Twitter, he can see his name is trending, teaching him a valuable lesson about the Streisand Effect: Attempts to shut something down invariably draw more attention to it.
After Business Insider published its article, Jeremy Corbyn said it showed “a nastiness at the heart of Government”.
“This is not what our country is about. The Prime Minister should apologise for authorising this ugly campaign,” he said on Twitter.
Timothy was May’s joint chief of staff with Fiona Hill until the disastrous General Election in June 2017, when they both resigned.
He was behind her “citizens of nowhere” speech to Tory Party conference in 2016. He was also blamed for the manifesto pledge to reform adult social care that was dubbed “the dementia tax” and cost the party at the polls.