By Jack Parker
Scandals involving several of the major figures in Theresa May’s cabinet have pushed this government the closest it has ever been to the point of collapse.
The International Development Secretary Priti Patel resigned following a controversy surrounding unauthorised meetings with Israeli officials, including the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while on holiday in the country in August. Mrs Patel’s actions have raised concerns about ministerial transparency, with Labour calling for an investigation to assess whether she breached ministerial code. Her promise to send part of Britain’s foreign aid budget to a region the British government doesn’t recognise as Israeli suggests Mrs Patel may have been following her own personal motives.
The resignation of Priti Patel was the second in as many weeks, after the Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon stood down having decided his personal conduct had “fallen below the high standards” expected of those serving in the Armed Forces. Sir Michael had been accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour by multiple women, including the Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom.
Meanwhile, the controversy involving First Secretary of State Damian Green, who is essentially Theresa May’s deputy, has deepened with the claim that pornography was found on one of the computers in his parliamentary office in 2008. The accusation, denied by Mr Green, came days after he was implicated in claims of sexual harassment. Stephen Crabb, who last year ran for the leadership of the Conservatives, is being investigated after allegedly sending sexually explicit messages to a 19-year-old woman. One has to wonder how much more seriously the accusations would be taken if Mr Crabb had become Prime Minister.
Another potential Tory leader, Boris Johnson, has been widely criticised for his involvement in the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian mother sentenced to 5 years in prison by Iranian authorities last year. Mr Johnson’s remarks that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliff had been teaching journalism in the country, for which he has since apologised, may triple the length of her sentence.
These are all accusations that have surfaced within a fortnight – a crescendo of chaos is starting to build around this government, but is collapse inevitable?
Photograph: Bond via Flickr