The Chancellor has been personally blamed for the party’s misfortunes and poor opinion poll ratings, with senior figures warning that change is needed ahead of the general election.
There are renewed calls for Mr Osborne to give up his role coordinating the party’s campaigning, as fears mount of disastrous results in May’s English local elections.
Some critics are demanding that he should be replaced as Chancellor by William Hague, the Foreign Secretary. Such a move would be a dramatic shift for the Prime Minister, as Mr Osborne is his closest political ally.
One senior Conservative at the heart of the party, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Telegraph: “George is the problem.”
Concerns centre on what is perceived to be his failure to understand the middle classes, their values, and their economic struggle.
“It is the most shattering experience of a young man’s life when one morning he awakes, and, quite reasonably, says to himself: ‘I will never play the Dane.’” Uncle Monty’s words in Withnail & I are delivered with unforgettable pathos and wit by Richard Griffiths, who died on Thursday. They refer to the disappointment etched into the destiny of almost every actor. But they ring no less true in the ranks of the political class.
When Boris Johnson finally admitted to Michael Cockerell in last Monday’s BBC documentary, that “if the ball came loose from the back of the scrum” he’d quite like to be prime minister, he was simply being candid about the political psyche. There is a part of every new MP that believes he will one day occupy No 10: Hamlet in the lethal Elsinore that is Westminster.
It has taken David Miliband more than two years to accept fully the “shattering experience” of which Uncle Monty speaks. As president and chief executive of the International Rescue Committee, he will be based in New York, the capital city of the world, putting to good use his talents and experience in response to the planet’s worst humanitarian crises. But he is also serving notice that he knows he is never going to be pri