George Osborne is looking increasingly embattled in his position as Shadow Chancellor. Not only have we seen the impact of ‘Yachtgate’ but he is now under growing pressure for his comments on the prospect of the pound during the coming crisis. Although much of what he has said is bang on the money and has been seized upon by Labour politicians to divert attention from other matters, it appears that many of the upper of the echelons of the party might are somewhat unimpressed over Osborne’s performance in the past few weeks.
Ken Clarke and Alan Duncan have both vocally supported Osborne but there has been no overt statement from David Cameron, William Hague or any other major party figure. They will no doubt issue such statements in the coming days but the delay must surely be disconcerting for Osborne. Moreover, it now appears that Oliver Letwin has been drafted in to help formulate a series of tax cuts and Osborne has been forced to step down from his role within the party, both as fundraiser and election strategist.
Talk is rife of Osborne’s replacement by someone more senior and experienced, with Ken Clarke being the man most mentioned in such reports. David Davis has denied that he is vying for the position of Shadow Chancellor, despite allegations of such from an anonymous member of the shadow cabinet. In a Conservative Home survey, Osborne’s support amongst the party has dropped from being one of the five most highly regarded members of the shadow cabinet to the bottom two. (Only ahead of Caroline Spellman, who is facing ongoing investigation over allegations regarding the mis-use of parliamentary funds.) Is Osborne’s time up?