Several of the prime minister’s allies defended her response to the tragedy on Saturday after she was criticised for her initial failure to meet residents and stilted interviews that left many questions unanswered.
They said there was an unfair narrative that did not reflect efforts she had been making behind the scenes. “There is a story out there and facts are selected to fit it,” said one.
There is concern, however, among Tory MPs that the disaster has again placed the spotlight on May’s difficulties in demonstrating empathy and responding on her feet, weaknesses that were exposed during the election campaign.
“It is an extraordinary tragedy and there will be a lot of questions to ask, but I can’t help feeling that in some people’s minds this might be her poll tax moment,” said one former minister. “You can see real anger.
“Labour may not be able to form a government without an election, but they could get people out on the streets. We have a really difficult problem inside the Commons and tough times with this sort of emergency coming up outside.”
Margaret Thatcher’s plan to introduce the poll tax, officially called the community charge, was eventually abandoned following riots in 1990. [Continue reading…]