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6 September 2019

Hunt’s special treatment continues

Communications green paper delayed to spare Culture Secretary's blushes.

By George Eaton

While Sayeeda Warsi’s woes deepen (she’s now the subject of a formal House of Lords investigation and the favourite to leave the cabinet), Jeremy Hunt continues to enjoy special treatment from David Cameron. The Telegraph reports that the long-awaited communications green paper will not be published until after the Olympics in order to prevent any further embarrassment to the Culture Secretary.

Meanwhile, the wiser heads among the Tories are increasingly concerned by the marked contrast between Cameron’s treatment of Hunt and Warsi. In an echo of a point made by my colleague Rafael Behr yesterday, ConservativeHome’s Paul Goodman writes in the Telegraph:

There is a terrible circularity in the story of their relationship. Her original appointment protected the Conservative Party from accusations of racism. However unfairly, her plight exposes the Prime Minister to precisely that charge. In 2007, Mr Cameron rushed into the politics of ethnicity to get his party out of a tight spot. He may now have the opportunity to repent at leisure.

If the Tories are to have any hope of winning a majority at the next election, they urgently need to improve their dismal performance among black and ethnic minority voters (just 16 per cent of whom voted for the party at the 2010 election). As Warsi herself is said to have remarked at a recent meeting with backbench Tories:

[U]nless and until campaigning with BME communities is institutionalised and embedded in every aspect of what we do as a political party, we cannot win an overall majority in 2015.

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Her likely downfall will do nothing to aid and much to hinder the party in this quest.

Update: The Tories won 16 per cent of the BME vote in the 2010 election, not six per cent as I previously stated.