Fresh from the highs of the coronation, Penny Mordaunt has had a week to remember, whilst the leader of Plaid Cymru becomes the latest political casualty following a damning report into the party's culture. Who survives to see another day in Westminster? Read below to find out.
Flying High: Penny Mordaunt
With guns of steel and composure as cool as ice, Penny Mordaunt lands this week’s top spot after stealing the show at King Charles’ coronation. With a spectacular dress and headpiece, the Tory minister became an instant hit over the weekend for her seamless role in the ceremony.
The irony of this moment was clear. Back in September, the then-Prime Minister Liz Truss gave Mordaunt, her close rival for the party leadership, the job of Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Privy Council. At the time, many viewed this appointment as an attempt to sideline and silence her as ordinarily this wouldn’t have been a particularly high-profile position. Fast forward eight months and roles have been reversed; Mordaunt spent the day rubbing shoulders with the King whilst Truss was relegated to the back of the Abbey.
Now, one coronation ceremony does not make Tory leader, but it probably hasn’t hurt Mordaunt’s career to have raised her profile with the public in case there turns out to be a vacancy at the top of the Conservative Party next year.
Middle Ranking: Kemi Badenoch
Darling of the Tory culture warriors Kemi Badenoch is finding that governing can be a lot more politically challenging than campaigning.
The Business Secretary was admonished by members of the once-influential ERG and received a severe tongue-lashing from Speaker Hoyle who struggled to contain his anger this week. This was all due to the government’s decision not to press on with repealing remaining EU laws on the UK statute book by the end of the year, and the government’s decision to announce this in the Telegraph instead of the chamber.
Badenoch, James Cleverley the Foreign Secretary and Suella Braverman the Home Secretary are all widely seen as amongst the favourites to win the next Tory leadership race, are all from the party’s right, and are all finding (to varying degrees) that being in government means taking tough decisions that don’t always please their political base.
Being outside the tent rather than in can potentially end up being more fun and a lot more politically convenient for the highly ambitious so don’t be surprised if we end up seeing a Boris-esque great resignation to win the hearts of the Tory right next year.
Sinking Low: Adam Price
A damning review into the culture of Plaid Cymru sealed the fate of its leader this week. Published on 3 May, the Prosiect Pawb report found that the party had failed to implement a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harrassment, bullying and misogyny.
Whilst Price accepted responsibility for the party’s failings, some senior figures within Plaid Cymru reportedly tried to keep him in place as leader, fearing that further instability would be worse for the party. We saw a similar approach taken with Dominic Raab, which ultimately led to a protracted enquiry and raised more questions over Sunak’s judgement.
The report is just the latest evidence of impropriety to rock the political world which, when added to the scandal around the governance of the SNP, is not a good look for the independence cause across the UK.