In the wake of the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith, a Wokingham MP has criticised the Prime Minister for losing contact with his party – something that could cost him Number 10 should the UK vote to leave Europe on June 23.
Instead, John Redwood argues, David Cameron has spent more time with EU leaders than his own backbenchers and in doing so runs a danger of misunderstanding his fellow MPs and ending up on the opposite side to the “majority of his party members”.
A member of the Vote Leave campaign, Mr Redwood was writing in his blog, hinting at the mood of his fellow Eurosceptic Conservatives could force Mr Cameron to step down from office if Britain votes for Brexit.
He noted: “Before the last election Mr Cameron was attentive and available to MPs who wanted a change.
“Since the election Mr Cameron has been spending much more time with other EU leaders than with Eurosceptic backbenchers.
“He was of course abroad when the IDS problem blew up, showing again the difficulty of EU entanglements to domestic politics, taking a PM away from crucial domestic matters when it is important to be available in person.
“Whilst this may all be an understandable use of Prime Ministerial time, the danger is he loses sufficient contact and understanding with his own party, the very force that keeps him in office.”
Mr Redwood argued that losing touch with the party could see Mr Cameron create new divisions and ultimately see him stepping down as Prime Minister.
He said: “Ending up on the opposite side to a majority of his party members and to around half his Parliamentary party on the EU issue despite indicating clearly he would like them to side with him creates new issues in party management that need careful and urgent attention.
“[Mr Cameron] also needs to nuance his comments in the referendum campaign. He speaks as if the only thing that matters to him is winning, turning a deaf ear to the legitimate views of the other side. That is fine for a partisan fighting a normal election, as such partisans don’t win the right to stay in office if they lose. As he wishes to remain Prime Minister, he has to remember that the Prime Minister has to speak as best he can for the whole nation. As party leader he has to speak for the majority of his party.
“If he spends the next few weeks denying, criticising and brushing aside everything we believe in about the fundamentals of our democracy and our nation, it will be that much more difficult for him to put it all together again afterwards.”
You can read Mr Redwood’s blog post in full on his website.