Theresa May's deputy and key ally, Damian Green, resigning is clearly not reflective of strength - it's the opposite argues Jonathan Maunders
On Wednesday evening Damian Green was sacked following the lengthy saga of allegations made against him in connection with having pornography stored on his work computer.
In an interview on Thursday morning, Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, said Green had to be removed from his position after his 'lies' about what he knew about police allegations regarding the material found on his office computer.
Seen as one of Theresa May's influential ministerial allies, Green has been removed from the cabinet after an enquiry revealed he had made 'inaccurate and misleading' statements regarding what he, himself, knew about the allegations.
Many in the mainstream media have sought to play down Green's departure, with some suggesting it was a minor footnote in an otherwise good week for the Prime Minister. The BBC's Nick Robinson went a stage further, bizarrely suggesting that the sacking was a demonstration of Theresa May's strength. How he reached this position is beyond me.
The Prime Minister has just lost her closest ally in the cabinet, this is clearly not reflective of strength. Since the election debacle, May has only ever been one wrong turn from a leadership challenge. Now losing her closest ally leaves her desperately exposed and surely a great deal lonelier that she was last week.
It is also worth noting that Green has effectively been May's deputy since the election. Sacking her deputy does not present a government of strength or stability. His departure is the third from the cabinet in recent months, after Michael Fallon and Priti Patel. This is evidently government of chaos.
The fact that this story has rumbled on, with May standing by Green for seemingly so long, undoubtedly has left her with egg on her face. Having stood by someone for so long, only to then finally sack them once again illustrates a weak regime and Prime Minister, not the strength argued by Nick Robinson.
Throughout this episode, the media have been very quick to assert that Green's sacking has coincided with a new period of stability for May and the government. Indeed, it is true that a deal with the European Union was finally agreed last week and the Prime Minister has, thus far, rode out any talk of her demise. Yet, to suggest that this represents strength and stability is beyond fantasy.
Only days before the agreement with EU negotiators was made, a previous deal disintegrated after May shared a call with the DUP's leader, Arlene Foster. It became abundantly clear that despite arguing the deal between the Tories and the DUP had little in the way of implication, the former were obvious kingmakers in Brexit negotiations. This is anything but evidence for May's strength.
The Tories have consistently slumped behind Labour in recent opinion polls, while Theresa May's personal ratings have steadily plummeted in the months following the election. With such in mind, to suggest she is any position of strength is a complete fantasy.
While many in the media have suggested Green's departure is little more than trivia, it is representative of a government defined by its weakness and chaos.