When Baroness Warsi suddenly resigned last week from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) it was patently clear that her reasons were not as advertised by herself. Ministerial resignations like this, with no warning and no previously expressed public concern about policy, are nearly always a symptom of bad relationships between ministers or a quiet sacking. Now that Mark Simmonds, the Conservative MP for Boston and Skegness, has also announced his resignation as an FCO Minister it begins to look suspicious that Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond wants his own ministerial choices. And fair enough.
Simmonds is complaining about the expenses regime. Blog followers will not be sympathetic but I am…but successful MPs and ministers know that the price of that success demands, as in many other occupations, that family life comes second and right now no political pressure from an individual will improve politicians’ remuneration. If both Warsi and Simmonds were considering their positions, then surely it would have made more sense to discuss their future with Cameron before a major reshuffle took place? Foreign policy did not change when William Hague was replaced with Philip Hammond, so Lady Warsi did not suddenly come across a policy on Gaza she didn’t like. Or perhaps Simmonds was indeed sacked at the reshuffle but as Africa minister was allowed to stay on to chair a meeting of the UN Security Council on the Democratic Republic of the Congo last week. The UK assumed the presidency of the Security Council on 1 August. Loud protests usually mean something very personal has happened. Be sceptical about these former ministers’ protests.