Top Theresa May ally takes a pass on taking on Steve Bannon
James Brokenshire is refusing to following in the footsteps of colleagues such Damian Green.
Boris Johnson’s descriptions of fully veiled Muslim women may have caused a furore, but for some Tories they are not the biggest cause for concern around the former foreign secretary.
For moderate Conservatives such as Damian Green it is the way that Johnson appears to be mixing with far right characters such as Steve Bannon that is most alarming.
He wrote in the Mail on Sunday: “I am particularly concerned by reports that President Trump’s sacked adviser Steve Bannon is forming a Europe-wide far-right campaign group – and has been in touch with Boris. I hope that no Conservative politician, including Boris, is taking advice from him about how the Conservative party should behave.”
But alas not all Tory MPs are willing to follow the lead of the former first secretary, it seems.
Housing secretary James Brokenshire, who is known in Westminster as a middle-of-the-road Mayite, appeared on Radio 4 this morning and was asked whether Johnson should be meeting the former Tump adviser who thinks that former BNP member Tommy Robinson is “the backbone” of Britain.
Rather than taking on the far right, the long-time May ally matter-of-factly said that meeting Bannon was “a matter for Boris Johnson and it is not right for me to tell him who he should or should not be speaking to”.
Among those deeply unimpressed with that answer was Labour’s David Lammy. And presumably Damian Green...
And the interview didn’t get much better when Brokenshire was discussing his £100m announcement to tackle homelessness - and eventually admitted that the £100m was not entirely new money. Rather it turned out that half isalready assigned to rough sleeping and the other half is coming from elsewhere in existing budgets.
Or as the housing secretary put it, some of the cash is being “reprioritised”.