The policy shift is particularly embarrassing for Mr Cameron as he has faced down his critics in the bitter grammar row by arguing: “I don’t follow my party, I lead them.”
In a panel, the Mail compares what Cameron said last week:
“A pledge to build more Grammar schools would be an electoral albatross”, David Cameron, May 20
“It is delusional to think that expanding a number of grammar schools would be a good idea.” David Cameron, May 22
….with ‘what the Tories were saying yesterday’:
“Where there is demographic change, then to maintain the status quo we would look at allowing more grammars to be built”, Tory party spokesman May 31
“We will look at it on a case-by-case basis”, Tory education spokesman Nick Gibb May 31
Stephen Glover in the Mail asks: “After the Grammar school furore, what DOES Mr Cameron believe in?”:
…we are entitled to complain – and voters are liable to take fright – if a political party seems a principle-free zone in which announcements reflect a canny preoccupation with being elected rather than a core of values and beliefs.
Peter Oborne reckons that Grammarsgate is indicative of a split in the Tory party:
The past week has been extremely informative about the true state of the Conservative Party.
It is not the happy band united under the leadership of David Cameron, that observers have been led to believe.
The truth is that it is very badly split. This split starts right at the top, and worsens the further down you go.
The Sun, under the headline “Cam’s grammar school cave-in” writes:
TORIES were in turmoil last night after party leader David Cameron caved in over his MPs’ grammar schools revolt.
After saying yesterday morning that it would never mention Grammar Schools again, Conservative Home is back to enumerating the days of Grammarsgate (it’s Day 17 today) and comments scathingly:
The basic issue is that David Cameron is not in tune with the grassroots. He believes in things that are fundamentally different from mainstream Conservatives. He’ll be forgiven by enough Conservatives if he looks like he’ll lead us to power but if his opinion poll ratings start to tank then everything changes. Conservative members want power and will swallow a lot in pursuit of that power but if the sacrifices are for nothing then there will be trouble.
Hat-tip to Conservative Home for the headline collection above.