Nick Timothy resigned on Saturday as one of the prime minister’s joint chiefs alongside Fiona Hill, after the pair took much of the fall for the Conservative Party’s general election catastrophe.
But in what has been construed as a subtle parting shot by some political observers, Mr Timothy indicated that changes were made to the Tories’ controversial social care policy – the so-called ‘dementia tax’.
At the time of the alleged U-turn, Mrs May denied that any alterations had been made to the policy, repeating the mantra, ‘Nothing has changed’.
However, Mr Timothy’s resignation statement offers some clues that the policy was revised.
‘I take responsibility for my part in this election campaign, which was the oversight of our policy programme,’ he wrote on the Conservative Home website on Saturday.
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‘In particular, I regret the decision not to include in the manifesto a ceiling as well as a floor in our proposal to help meet the increasing cost of social care.’
His choice of words was seized on by critics of Mrs May, who insisted throughout the election campaign that no changes had been made to the policy.
When grilled by journalists last month about the policy, and what the cap on social care might be, the prime minister refused to budge.
‘We have not changed the principles of the policy we have set out in our manifesto,’ she said at the time (at 6m 18sec in the video below).
‘Those policies remain exactly the same.’
Clearly frustrated with the constant questioning of the policy, she later added: ‘Nothing has changed. Nothing has changed.’
Mrs May’s continuous denials were already weakened by a BBC Radio 4 recording of health minister Jeremy Hunt ruling out a cap.
Mr Timothy’s statement is a more explicit suggestion that it was never considered in the first draft of the policy.
On Twitter, the Secret Barrister wrote: ‘Nick Timothy’s resignation statement shows that May’s claim that her belated announcement of a social care cap was “not a change” was a lie.’
Mr Timothy was accused of taking sole ownership of the social care policy, but in his resignation statement, he said: ‘I would like to make clear that the bizarre media reports about my own role in the policy’s inclusion are wrong.
’It had been the subject of many months of work within Whitehall, and it was not my personal pet project.
‘I chose not to rebut these reports as they were published, as to have done so would have been a distraction for the campaign.
‘But I take responsibility for the content of the whole manifesto, which I continue to believe is an honest and strong programme for government.’