On Thursday, June 8, Theresa May wakes to a cool, overcast Election morning.
As she votes, in her ‘lucky’ leopard-skin kitten heels, May has good reason to feel confident. Her campaign consultants hired at great expense have led her to believe she is on course for a healthy win.
The signs from Australian campaign consultants Sir Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor, as well as American pollster Jim Messina, a former adviser to Barack Obama, suggest the Tories will win at least 350 seats – a majority of 50 or more.
On Thursday, June 8, Theresa May wakes to a cool, overcast Election morning. As she votes, in her ‘lucky’ leopard-skin kitten heels, May has good reason to feel confident
At 10pm, the results of the official exit poll will be broadcast live on TV. It is a massive piece of research providing a clear and usually accurate guide to the final tally of seats. Anyone working on the project is sworn to the strictest secrecy.
By 9.30pm, the final forecast is ready. The polls results are market sensitive. According to BBC insiders: ‘There’s never a leak.’
This year, there is a leak.
At 9.40pm, Professor John Curtice, the academic from the University of Strathclyde in charge of the exit poll, is ready to reveal his results. A handful of the most senior journalists and executives from the BBC, Sky and ITV, who commissioned the research, gather in a room behind the studio where David Dimbleby will make his announcement at 10pm.
Back at Tory headquarters, they receive an important phone call. It’s Obama. The former US President knew someone working on Labour’s campaign who told him Corbyn is going to lose 20 or 30 seats – not enough to force Corbyn out. Obama told a Tory friend to pass on an encouraging message: Labour are expecting to lose seats, meaning the Tory majority will go up. And the disastrous Corbyn is here to stay.
Earlier, Crosby sent Nick Timothy, May’s co-chief of staff, a text. ‘How you holding up?’
‘I feel good, thanks,” Timothy replied. ‘What do you reckon?’
Crosby’s response is positive but contains a note of caution. ‘We should do well. My hesitation is any Labour ground effort that we are not picking up the impact of.’
All are waiting for the 10pm exit poll. Shortly before, May adviser Fiona Hill’s phone buzzes. It is a contact from the BBC, tipping her off about the exit poll results.
Hill grabs Timothy and pulls him into a side room off the main floor.
‘I’ve just heard the exit poll – they’re predicting a hung parliament,’ she says. ‘Are you winding me up?’ Timothy asks.
Who leaked this most sensitive information, breaching the tightest security rules?
Shortly before the announcement, one person who calls Hill is Andrew Marr, the BBC politics presenter. He talks to her about the poll prediction and asks for her reaction.
But Marr now insists the conversation took place only ‘seconds’ before the official announcement. He believes Hill had already been given the results by somebody else. Were there two leaks from the BBC to the Tories that night?
With crucial seconds ticking down to 10pm, Hill hugs a No 10 colleague. ‘It is all going to be okay,’ she says. ‘Something’s funny with the exit poll, don’t worry about it’.
Don’t grimace at Trump gropes, PM was warned
It is a Westminster tradition for Prime Ministers to use the first Sunday back after New Year to outline their vision for the next 12 months in a major, set-piece TV interview.
On January 8, 2017, a new show was launching and its presenter was a woman. Sky’s Sophy Ridge had bagged the big interview for her first show.
During her preparations for the interview, Theresa May’s communications director Katie Perrior became concerned that Ridge could pull a stunt.
Donald Trump had just supplied the perfect question: what did Mrs May feel about newly unearthed video of the US President-elect saying his celebrity status gave him the ability to grope women whenever he liked, adding that you can ‘grab them by the p****’?
Donald Trump had just supplied the perfect question: what did Mrs May feel about newly unearthed video of the US President-elect saying his celebrity status gave him the ability to grope women whenever he liked, adding that you can ‘grab them by the p****’?
As she waited to collect the PM from her Sunday morning church service in Sonning, Berkshire, Perrior knew she would have to find a way to prepare her boss. She decided she would just have to say it.
‘Prime Minister, it’s possible she will be asked what you think of Donald Trump saying he can grab women by the p****.’ In the front seat of the Government Jaguar, the police protection officer snorted. Mrs May said: ‘Right. How would you like me to respond?’
Perrior told her the camera was likely to zoom in on her face in a close-up, because they would be expecting her to grimace in the way she sometimes does.
‘I don’t do that,’ the Prime Minister said.
‘You do,’ Perrior replied. ‘Don’t do it. ‘Keep completely and utterly still – poker face.
‘They want to be able to say, “this is the face Theresa May makes when she talks about Donald Trump”.’
In the end, Mrs May remained perfectly composed, waiting, expressionless, for Ridge to finish her question, before answering: ‘I think that’s unacceptable.’
As Big Ben strikes 10pm, Theresa May can’t watch. Instead, she asks husband Philip to watch for her.
She wants to hear whatever the momentous news is to be from him, not from the TV. Philip stands in silence at the home they share in Sonning as the exit poll flashes up on the screen.
‘The Conservatives don’t have an overall majority,’ intones Dimbleby.
Philip goes to find his wife. He tells her the news and hugs her. It takes a minute for her to understand the scale of the disaster but, when she does, a devastated May breaks down and weeps.
Marr comes on screen to discuss the astonishing exit poll numbers.
‘Well, the reaction of senior Conservatives – and I’ve talked to a few – is that they flatly don’t believe it.’
Inside CCHQ, it is as if all the air has been sucked out of the room. Timothy winks at a colleague. ‘Don’t worry about that, it’s all fine,’ he says. ‘Nothing we’ve seen says anything like it’.
Crosby and Messina say the poll could be an epic blunder and Hill does not believe it. May is shocked but remains calm. In the war room, Crosby decides someone has to cheer up the staff for the long night of work ahead. ‘F*** it,’ he says. ‘The BBC’s never been right about anything in their lives.’
Boris Johnson has had a burger and a pint of Young’s ale and settles down in front a projector screen beaming the BBC News live into his local Uxbridge Conservative Association. ‘When the result was announced his reaction was the same as everyone else in the room, crushing surprise and astonishment,’ says one Tory.
Johnson knows attention will rapidly shift to him and his chances of replacing May in No 10. ‘Ignore your phones. No-one talks to anyone,’ he orders his aides.
At 11.59pm, Timothy hears the news he has been dreading. The Tories hold on to Swindon North – but with a swing to Labour. ‘Oh f***,’ he says. He chats to strategy director Chris Wilkins. They wonder aloud whether Britain is hours away from seeing what Prime Minister Boris Johnson would look like.
Timothy believes May should consider stepping down. He does not want her to suffer the vicious wave of recriminations that will inevitably follow. Perhaps for her own good, she should go.
He is not alone. Even her husband, Philip, who is distraught for his wife, wonders whether she should resign, according to one member of May’s team.
A rumour later circulated that May did discuss whether she should quit that night. May herself has denied it. The chairman of the party’s influential backbench 1922 Committee Graham Brady texts May, urging her to stay calm. The gist is simple: ‘Don’t contemplate doing anything precipitous.’
When May returns to CCHQ at 4.30am, she heads straight into a meeting with Messina, election expert Lord Gilbert, Crosby, Textor, Timothy and Hill. May stares at the people who designed her campaign, who told her where to go and what to say, and who led her to think it was all working. Gilbert, Crosby and Textor all look pale. Crosby mumbles ‘sorry’.
Then May expresses her frustration. ‘I just don’t understand,’ she says. ‘You’ve asked me to go round all these seats, I’ve gone round these seats. You’ve told me that the numbers were good and feedback was good – and we’ve barely won any of them.’ She spends 45 minutes locked away in the small VIP room with her team. Chief Whip Gavin Williamson is getting reports of MPs canvassing colleagues for rival leadership bids. Two men are in the frame: Johnson and David Davis. ‘I need to speak to DD,’ says May.
This is critical: not only is Davis the man who pushed for the Election to be called in the first place, he is also in charge of the Brexit negotiations. He assures May that he is staunchly loyal.
Meanwhile, Johnson sends a text message, expressing his backing and sympathies. The Foreign Secretary tells May to keep her ‘chin up’, adding, ‘we are with you and behind you’. She is so delighted by the text message that she holds up her phone and shows it to her advisers. Johnson returns to his official residence in London where he sits up watching the rest of the results come in. ‘Poor Theresa, poor Theresa,’ he mutters to those in the room. ‘I hope she is okay.’
Back in Downing Street, May decides it is time for some honest conversations. She rings a few senior members of the Cabinet whose support she will need. The Prime Minister is asking her rivals to put their cards on the table.
Never mind the voters, she couldn’t inspire own team
During the Election campaign, Theresa May was not only refusing to take part in televised head-to-head Election debates with Jeremy Corbyn – she was also avoiding her own activists toiling at CCHQ.
Advisers Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill were worried about her health, in case she should be struck down by a virus before polling day.
‘She didn’t come into the office very often because it was basically a pit of germs,’ a Tory source says. ‘There were quite a lot of germs flying around.’
But Mrs May’s absence came at a cost to staff morale and Timothy, Hill and Election experts Lynton Crosby and Lord Gilbert were all told the troops needed their leader.
‘After three or four weeks, people are working hard. It’s a bit dysfunctional managerially in here, just get her in,’ one staffer recalls saying.
‘Get her to rally the troops. They haven’t heard from her. They are fighting for someone they’ve never spoken to, they’ve never seen.’
When the Prime Minister did emerge and address the war room, it was hardly the rousing rallying cry the staff required.
In the digital age a speaker knows they have lost their audience when they start checking their phones for interesting items on Twitter.
It was all ‘too late’, according to several staff.
One witness described it as simply a repeat of the stump speech everyone in the building had heard her make dozens of times already – not the kind of rousing address that would fire up her weary workers.
‘It was all “strong and stable” and the risks of Corbyn’s “coalition of chaos”. I couldn’t believe it,’ the witness said.
‘This was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom talking in the middle of an Election to her own campaign staff and she couldn’t even hold the room.’
At around 8am, she calls Johnson. If she is going to stay on as PM, she needs confirmation of his intentions, especially amid rumours that his allies are plotting a coup.
According to one witness, May tells Johnson: ‘It’s not the result we hoped for, but I intend to form a government. Can I count on your support or do you intend to stand against me?’ Johnson makes it clear that he will be staunchly loyal.
Nearly four months earlier, on Thursday, February 16, the Tory Party’s top brass had gathered at Chequers for the most sensitive political discussion: how to win an Election.
But instead of bringing harmony, the secret Chequers ‘away day’ sparked a conflict at the heart of May’s Election team, a clash between reforming chief-of-staff Timothy and Crosby, the man she had hired to design her Election campaign. This schism was to prove fatal to her hopes of winning the mandate she craved.
Present with Crosby was long-serving Tory election expert Lord Gilbert, who had been central to David Cameron winning an unexpected majority in 2015. In his Chequers presentation, May’s chief speech writer Wilkins set out a radical agenda: overhauling social and industrial policy. ‘She had to be the person who always fought for relentless change,’ Wilkins said. May invited her guests to sit down to lunch around the large table in the dining room.
Crosby quipped that it was possible to tell a lot about a leader from the menus they serve. Some guests noted the eccentric: chicken lasagne, served with boiled potatoes.
The logic behind Wilkins and Timothy’s programme was clear: their approach was working. It had catapulted May to a healthy lead over Labour and Corbyn in the polls. But Crosby was unimpressed. The plain-speaking Australian regarded Wilkins’s presentation as ‘classic populist woolly bullshit’.
Grand political theories dreamt up by thinkers in their studies didn’t impress him. ‘By the way, mate, it’s not about being the change candidate, it’s about doing what people want,’ Crosby told the gathering.
Wilkins says: ‘In the campaign, we basically just screwed the brand completely, hers and the party’s. We suddenly became the establishment candidate and Corbyn the candidate for change.’
Three weeks later, the PM’s commitment to her Lenten fast would be tested to the full at a meeting with her team. Her senior advisers wanted to talk and their purpose was deadly serious: for the first time, they were formally proposing a snap Election. For the first time, she was ready to listen. One evening after work in the week of March 20, the PM met Timothy, Hill and Wilkins in the Downing Street flat.
They sat on sofas and sipped glasses of wine. May laid out two bowls of crisps. They told her – and her husband – why she should call an Election now.
‘She was instinctively nervous,’ one of those present recalls.
May’s concerns were threefold. She had only just made it to No 10, and there was a risk that the Election could go wrong and the Tories could lose. She was concerned that calling a snap vote would bring added insecurity to the country, but most of all, about how the public would react, after she had promised so many times that there would not be an early Election.
The aides knew they needed to persuade Philip too. ‘A decision of this magnitude did have to be a joint thing,’ one of May’s team explains. ‘Philip is an important adviser for her. She relies on him a lot privately.’ Philip May raised the same concerns as his wife, worrying how the public would react. He also wondered how previous occupants of No 10 had fared when they called snap elections.
May was still unsure.
Few have won the PM’s trust as quickly in government as her buccaneering Brexit Secretary, David Davis. A former SAS reservist, Davis is nothing if not self-assured. He is known for always having a ready smile and a cocksure confidence. He has been described as a rare example of someone who can swagger sitting down.
Davis wanted an early Election. As he war-gamed the next two years of Brexit talks, he was sure a vote now rather than in 2020 would deny his European adversaries the chance to pressure Britain into accepting a poor deal in 2019, on the brink of an Election the following year.
Call a snap Election, thump Corbyn’s Labour Party and then thump the EU in the Brexit talks, was his argument. Davis wanted an Election and set about getting one.
Three weeks before Easter, he called Crosby, telling him: ‘No-one is closer to Theresa May than I and I, Philip Hammond and Theresa May really run the country.’
Then he startled Crosby.
Davis wanted an early Election. As he war-gamed the next two years of Brexit talks, he was sure a vote now rather than in 2020 would deny his European adversaries the chance to pressure Britain into accepting a poor deal in 2019, on the brink of an Election the following year
‘I’m urging her to have an Election as early as possible. We’re well ahead in the polls and we’ll win.’ The Australian wasn’t convinced. ‘Support is broad but shallow,’ he replied. ‘Polls in this climate are superficial. They sort of say what’s going on but are not stress-tested to the impact of a campaign.’
But Davis had made up his mind and was determined to make up May’s and Crosby’s too. ‘I’m persuading her and I just wanted you to think about it,’ he said.
Crosby declined to engage in a discussion. Little by little, May’s caution turned to confidence. It was time to be bold. She was close to making up her mind before she left for her holiday in Wales.
Timothy and Gilbert travelled to the Mays’ home in Sonning for an Election summit, with Patrick McLoughlin, the Tory chairman. May said: ‘I’ve got a reputation for just getting on with the job, for doing the right thing. Would calling an early Election put that at risk?’
Gilbert saw the risk that the public would think May was just trying to gain narrow political advantage. Crosby was the least enthused about the idea. ‘Hasn’t she ruled this out several times,’ he asked Gilbert. ‘Why does she want an Election now? I’m not so sure I’d be calling an Election’.
Eventually, Crosby agreed to help, even though he did not want to lead the campaign. He commissioned a poll on the public’s readiness for another Election campaign. The results were clear: nobody wanted one. Crosby sent the findings in a memo to May – revealed in last week’s Mail on Sunday – which did not mince its words about the risks of May’s Election gamble.
‘People thought things were uncertain and they were sick of change,’ says Crosby. ‘Some people argue that voters want change. They don’t want change, they just want a few problems fixed and the world to calm down.’
When May returned from her Welsh walking trip, she called Timothy and Hill. She had made her mind up.
Timothy was elated. ‘Nick was saying, it took David Cameron and George Osborne four years to change the face of the Conservative Party and we’ve done it in nine months,’ according to one insider.
‘Hubris was rife – they were going to win over all these new voters, winning over Labour territory. That was going to be Nick’s legacy.’
At 11.06am on Tuesday, April 18, May dropped the biggest political bombshell in a generation: She was calling an Election on June 8.
Most of the Cabinet had found out only minutes earlier.
© Tim Ross and Tom McTague, 2017
- Betting The House: The Inside Story Of The 2017 Election by Tim Ross & Tom McTague is published by Biteback on Sep 28, priced £12.99. Offer price £10.39 (20% discount) until Sep 24. Pre-order at mailbookshop.co.uk or call 0844 571 0640, p&p is free on orders over £15. Tim Ross is UK government reporter for Bloomberg News and Tom McTague is chief UK political correspondent for Politico.
Hammond frozen out – and a manifesto up in flames
The Election campaign highlighted the simmering frustration of Philip Hammond over his exclusion from the inner circle in Downing Street.
This came to a head with the Tory manifesto, after the aides who prepared it decided not to publish a costings document itemising how each policy pledge would be paid for.
For the Chancellor, wedded to steering the economy safely through the turbulence of Brexit, this amounted to economic degeneracy.
The Election campaign highlighted the simmering frustration of Philip Hammond over his exclusion from the inner circle in Downing Street
How could he credibly argue the Conservatives were fiscally responsible?
But the campaign leadership ruled that publishing the party’s internal calculations could backfire and so they decided not to do it, even though the document existed internally.
‘If we have to prove our fiscal credibility, then we have a problem,’ May’s policy adviser Will Tanner told Hammond. ‘Labour clearly has a problem. We don’t.’
The Chancellor’s frustration had been brewing for weeks.
He had been locked out of the manifesto process, felt he should have had a bigger role in the ‘air war’ media campaign and should have been asked to approve the public spending plans earlier.
Critically, he wanted to make sure the manifesto did not tie his hands at future Budgets.
Attack dog’s Spitfire skirmish
Inside Conservative Campaign Headquarters, there was an air of disarray bordering on chaos as the manifesto launch approached. They were trying to find a suitable venue.
Two days before its debut, the options included an event in the centre of Newcastle, which was deemed too risky, and a speech at an air museum packed with World War II planes.
Theresa May’s chief of staff Nick Timothy thought presenting the manifesto on the eve of delicate Brexit negotiations with the PM surrounded by Spitfires would send an unfortunate message, but Election campaign chief Lynton Crosby liked the idea.
Theresa May’s chief of staff Nick Timothy thought presenting the manifesto on the eve of delicate Brexit negotiations with the PM surrounded by Spitfires would send an unfortunate message, but Election campaign chief Lynton Crosby liked the idea
In an email to Timothy, his co-chief of staff Fiona Hill and others, Crosby wrote: ‘I don’t think the Second World War issue is relevant or a problem… and you won it. Nice contrast with the anti-defence Corbyn.’
When this was abandoned, the logistics team spent hours in a frantic search for a venue in Middlesbrough that could handle large numbers of journalists, TV equipment and the security requirements of accommodating the entire Cabinet and the PM. None could be found. There was no obvious rationale for Middlesbrough other than that it was a target seat.
Only on May 17, the day before the launch, did CCHQ find a venue in another apparently random town in the North: a converted water mill in Halifax.
The problem was he had clashed too many times with May’s chief of staff, Nick Timothy.
The Prime Minister’s view of Hammond was little better than Timothy’s, who disliked the Chancellor, although Mrs May was more careful how she expressed it. The closest she would get to venting her own frustrations would be to raise her eyebrows at the mention of his name in campaign meetings.
No 10 aides regarded Hammond with suspicion and at times contempt for what they saw as a lack of political nous and a tendency to talk too much out of turn.
Timothy didn’t want Hammond to see the full manifesto until his boss was happy with it.
The Chancellor was eventually allowed to examine it, hours before it went to the printers.
With Hammond excluded, Timothy brought Hammond’s deputy, Treasury Minister David Gauke, into the No 10 circle of trust. Gauke was seen by May’s team as loyal and competent.
May, Timothy and co-chief of staff Fiona Hill had called a snap Election, but knew little about how to organise a campaign themselves.
The low point – before the devastation of the result itself – came on May 22, when the Prime Minister used a press conference to scrap her flagship manifesto pledge to reform social care, the so-called ‘dementia tax’, four days after announcing it.
Channel 4’s Michael Crick said May looked ‘weak and wobbly’, not ‘strong and stable’. Another pundit called it a ‘manifesto of chaos’. The proposal made May look mean. But her U-turn made her seem weak – and worse, untrustworthy.
May tried to pretend it was not a U-turn. ‘Nothing has changed,’ the Prime Minister famously said after the volte-face.
The manifesto was a ‘pile of s***’, a member of the Conservative operation says.
According to her speech writer Chris Wilkins: ‘People don’t mind you doing U-turns if it shows you are listening and if you explain what you are doing – so to change the policy and then claim you’re not changing it was devastating to the brand. You are just another politician.’
An MP with 20 years’ Commons experience, May apparently had an instinct for what was happening to her campaign and feared the worst. According to one senior figure: ‘She was very worried. She would take it all on herself, saying, “I’m going to lose this Election.” ’
Springing an Election with no notice was a decision akin to a headteacher at a sleepy primary school volunteering for a full Ofsted inspection – and then refusing to prepare.
Weeks before she stepped out of No 10 to make her shock snap Election announcement, the PM chaired a meeting of her Cabinet.
One Minister after another told her the manifesto should be as vague as possible. Hammond was among those who advocated a minimalist approach.
As the man often dubbed ‘Theresa May’s brain’, Timothy oversaw the manifesto. He was her chief policy adviser and had total authority over the Downing Street machine. About a week before the Election was announced, Timothy asked Cabinet Office Minister Ben Gummer to take charge of writing the manifesto.
Gummer was deeply unhappy at the prospect of an early Election and told Timothy. He did not believe the large poll lead meant the Tories were unbeatable.
But he accepted Timothy’s offer. The drafting itself was highly secretive. Hammond was ‘frustrated’ at his lack of access and further antagonised by being virtual banned from appearing in the media during the campaign.
Boris Johnson repeatedly demanded access to the full manifesto text. He was told he could not have it – he was not deemed to be trustworthy. ‘No doubt Boris wanted to leak it, so he wasn’t going to see it. No one was going to see it,’ said a source.
Australian Sir Lynton Crosby – who ran the Election campaign – warned that detailed, policy-rich manifestos could be a problem. ‘I hate policy, it only causes problems,’ he would say.
The feedback from research was that the social care policy caused a few alarm bells to ring but May’s team believed they could handle it. Then came the crunch meeting. On Sunday May 14, Gummer drove to meet Timothy and Hill at the Mays’ house in Sonning.
The manifesto was due to go to the printers that Tuesday – ready for the official launch on the Thursday. Always the model of amiable hospitality, Philip May made a pot of tea, produced some biscuits, and then left his wife and her advisers to their meeting at the dining room table.
Gummer pointed out some of the most dangerous areas – including social care. ‘These are the toughies,’ he said. Fiona Hill was particularly nervous about social care.
The good news was that people needing care could keep £100,000 of their wealth, compared to the previous level of £23,000. But it was laborious to explain.
According to some sources, Hill thought it meant £100,000 was the maximum people would pay. It was the opposite.
Gummer argued: ‘Given this is what we know we’re going to do, it’s dishonest to leave it out.’
May decided that giving more detail rather than less was the right thing to do. That meant keeping the care policy in full.
The day before the manifesto was printed, Crosby and fellow Election campaign organiser Lord Gilbert told Timothy they were ‘very concerned’ about the social care plan.
Hill again expressed doubts but Timothy played his trump card: the PM understood the risks and wanted to keep it. Crosby and Gilbert had no answer to that.
Barely had May announced the social care plan than the backlash began.
It was called ‘unspeakable’, ‘heartless’ and worse. The stage was set for her humiliating U-turn four days later.
Battle of the bomb that blew up into row over Cameron
Theresa May was working late in No 10 on May 22 when she heard about the terror attack on a pop concert at the Manchester Arena that killed 23 people.
For her advisers, thoughts turned to what she would say to the country. The priority was to act responsibly. They did not want to mislead the public or say anything that would stoke fears.
Their approach came at a cost. It took almost four hours before the first official statement from Downing Street emerged – at 2.20am.
Jeremy Corbyn had tweeted his condolences at six minutes past midnight.
In the intervening time, senior officials in the Conservative campaign grew increasingly exasperated. How could the Prime Minister sit in silence at a time like this?
Theresa May was working late in No 10 on May 22 when she heard about the terror attack on a pop concert at the Manchester Arena that killed 23 people
They were desperate for May to make a short, strong statement on Twitter, setting out what she was doing to get a grip on the crisis. The public needed to be reassured.
May’s team refused. ‘There was a huge row,’ reveals a senior Tory strategist.
‘There were things they said they wouldn’t do because “that’s what David Cameron did” – and reacting quickly on Twitter was one of them.’
May’s inner circle was adamant. ‘We’re not going to tweet, we’re not going to put anything up on Facebook. We do things differently. This is a serious event.’
The position infuriated officials inside CCHQ and frustrations boiled over. ‘There was an exchange of views,’ another Tory official admits. ‘Yes, it was a serious event but it was also happening now and the public were looking for it.
‘I just thought, “For f***’s sake.” Everything became, “the playbook is not Dave”.
‘I think Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill felt No 10 under Cameron talked too much, announced too much, and put gimmicks first and governing second. They didn’t want to govern by Twitter.’
A condolence tweet from the Prime Minister was finally sent out at 2pm – more than 15 hours after the atrocity.