Reading Fraser Nelson's paean to that great and successful Tory ex-leader Iain Duncan Smith in today's Daily Torygraph, I couldn't help notice a stinging and highly personal attack on one of David Cameron's tiny band of women members of the Shadow Cabinet - Theresa May.
In a section designed to show that the Tories would have been able to reform the welfare state successfully had Cameron not replaced the master of crime statistics, expert on teenage pregnancies in deprived areas and well-known defender of Gay rights Chris Grayling with Theresa May, he writes:
But the agenda died when Theresa May was sent in and Grayling was promoted to be shadow home secretary. With a nine-year track record of achieving precisely nothing in Opposition, May is spectacularly ill-suited to what should be the toughest task in government. It is not enough for her to have David Freud, a banker turned welfare adviser, in the wings. There is only one man appropriate for this job.
Now Fraser Nelson is not your average Tory commentator. As editor of The Spectator and a columnist at the News of the World, he is highly influential. He is also very well connected with the Tory high command. My hunch is that he is unlikely to have launched such a nasty attack on a senior member of Cameron's Shadow Cabinet so close to an election without tacit approval from the top.
With the number of capable and experienced female Tories at an all time low, it seems the knives may be out for the one Tory woman, who as party chair in 2002 was was brave and wise enough to state that the party had to shed its "nasty party" image. Perhaps Cameron and co. are planning a May 7 putsch, assuming they win the election, which is itself unlikely.