Early in 2016, journalist Peter Oborne has written a scathing report on how Theresa May always puts politics before principles. Last on her priorities is what is best for the country. Oborne says: “Let’s deal first with Home Secretary Theresa May. We are talking here of an empty politician without beliefs. Perhaps I should rephrase that. She does hold beliefs. But they change regularly according to political convenience.
In the Nineties, hunting for a safe seat, she claimed to share many of Margaret Thatcher’s doubts about the direction of the EU.
A decade later and the modernisers, who despised Mrs Thatcher, were in charge of the party. At that point, Mrs May turned her back on her supporters and marched to the political centre, from where at the Party conference in 2002 she shamelessly attacked her former allies for being too narrow-minded and making the Tories the ‘nasty party’.
Once in power it was time for another reinvention.
Mrs May converted herself back into the voice of the Conservative Right, making a series of pledges to bring net migration into Britain down to tens out thousands.When she failed, she unhesitatingly blamed Europe. This is what she told the Tory Party conference last year: ‘When it was first enshrined, free movement meant the freedom to move to a job, not the freedom to cross borders to look for work or claim benefits.
‘Yet last year, four out of ten EU migrants — 63,000 people — came here with no definite job whatsoever. We must take some big decisions, face down powerful interests . . . the numbers coming from Europe are unsustainable and the rules have to change.’
The rules have not changed in any meaningful way as a result of David Cameron’s negotiations. No big decisions have been made, while not a single one of Mrs May’s powerful interests has been faced down.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants will continue to enter Britain if, as expected, existing trends continue. Yet amazingly Mrs May wants to stay in! By expressing support for the European Union now, she is surely revealing that her ‘heartfelt’ speech at the Tory conference last year was actually synthetic — something she did not believe in. If she meant what she said she would be in the Leave camp.
I have news for Mrs May. There were people who listened to what she said in the conference hall who believed she meant what she said, and now feel baffled and betrayed. They are right to feel that way.
They placed their trust in the Home Secretary. They now realise that was a mistake.
I wonder if Mrs May has the intellect to grasp how dangerous her conduct has become. There is a giant deficit of trust at the heart of British public life, and it is precisely because of politicians like her.
The British people are sick and tired of those in power who say one thing and do another, and whose decisions are based around their personal advancement not principle. They are fed up with politicians who don’t mind if they lie and cheat because it’s all part of some Westminster game.
Mrs May has, however, done something even more contemptible over the past few weeks.
Desperate to cover up her serial failure over immigration, the Home Secretary has been thrashing around for an excuse for her unprincipled decision to back the EU.
Security is the reason, so she says, for backing Britain to stay in Europe.
Her reasoning has already been destroyed by Iain Duncan Smith from the Leave camp. He points out that the lack of control of our borders as a result of EU membership means fanatics can slip into this country unseen, which makes us more at risk of terror attacks.
As a young British journalist in Brussels 25 years ago, Mr Johnson won a reputation by exposing EU corruption.
He regularly attended meetings of the Thatcherite Bruges Group, where he made plain that he supported Mrs Thatcher’s vision of a Europe of nation states.
Michael Gove, with formidable intellectual integrity, has been equally consistent.
No wonder they are hated by their cowardly Cabinet colleagues, who have put their worthless careers before their country.