As I quipped during Liberal Democrat conference, one of the most popular Conservative MPs with party activists is Nadine Dorries, courtesy of that question at PMQs.
Today Home Secretary Theresa May has shown rather more political skill in making a very similar point. Talking to the Sunday Telegraph, she’s said that “personally” she would “like” to see the Human Rights Act go.
It’s a skilful move because by using that phrasing she isn’t triggering any stories of coalition meltdown. Liberal Democrats saying the Human Rights Act won’t go and Tories saying they personally would like it to go aren’t contradictory comments after all. Both can be true.
Liberal Democrat supporters will like hearing the message that there are things the Conservatives would like to do in government but are being prevented from doing by the Lib Dems. But, unlike Nadine Dorries’s question, Theresa May’s comments also play well to the Conservative audience – by sending them a clear message about how May would rather do things different if it wasn’t for the pesky Lib Dems.
And for both sides of the coalition, once again it is a topic where the debate is Conservative versus Liberal Democrat, leaving Labour on the sidelines struggling for relevance.