Boris Johnson isn’t loosing grip on his party just yet.
The writing may appear to be on the wall; but the rhetoric from backbenchers is far greater than the actions of rebellion.
Its been the case for several months now that much of the Tory backbenches have been fuming with Boris Johnson. His government’s inept cycle of U-turns and PR disasters have had savvy veteran politicians of that same party wringing their hands in exasperation.
This latest lockdown drama has seen big talk from the so called libertarian Tory MPs, arguing against lockdown, furious about the political own goal handed to Keir Starmer and the economic damage and erosion of civil liberties a further lockdown (they were told wouldn’t happen) would entail.
It’s big talk, and it’s all hyped up as a growing Tory rebellion. In actual fact, while there are a huge mass of Tories of all factions unhappy with this PM and the lockdown plans behind the scenes, there are precious few willing to vote down the measures. We have grumbles and mumbles, no actual combative moves.
The political image of Tory disorder and factions vying for attention hasn’t cut through yet, but if it continues into the medium term it’ll start to embed itself into the public consciousness and cause serious damage for Johnson’s government. The simple thing to bare in mind as of right now is this: yes, resentment grows, yes, they’re grumbling, but they don’t have the numbers *yet* to take a stand.
In the long term these Tory rebels and their irresponsible ramblings will be worth keeping Johnson up at night, but for now he can coast through; the damage is by no means terminal.