It appears that his leadership has entered into the stage where some sort of leadership coup is almost inevitable.
Mainstream media commentary thought that he was safe for now because no one in their right mind would take on Jacinda Ardern while she is so dominant.
But repeated gaffes involving Jami-Lee Ross and the emotional junior staffer appear to be taking their toll. And polling at 5% as preferred Prime Minister shows that Bridges has major problems.
From Tova O’Brien at Newshub:
National MPs are speaking out against their leader and Newshub has been told of agitation behind the scenes.
The National Party Caucus is now proactively coming to Newshub with concerns about Simon Bridges’ leadership, and Newshub has been told people are doing the numbers for Judith Collins.
There are mixed views, but a number of MPs have told Newshub that Bridges’ handling of recent problems hasn’t been up to scratch, with one MP even describing it as “incompetent”.
And the leaks continue to happen:
National MPs are also leaking – big time. Just minutes after a caucus conference call on Monday, Newshub was leaked details about the meeting.
As for any signs of a coup, on Tuesday MPs anonymously told Newshub: “It’s happening.”
One MP said: “For some time, MPs have been concerned about the direction of the leadership.”
Another described the caucus as “unsettled”, while another said “numbers are firming for Judith”.
But others say Bridges is safe – for now – and that Collins doesn’t have the numbers to roll him.
Of course this could all be dirty politics of the style that Kevin Rudd engaged in against Julia Gillard to undermine her. It worked. But it destroyed Labor’s electoral popularity in the meantime.
And the pile up reminds me of what happened to David Cunliffe in 2014. I thought that was unfair but I cannot deny that it was effective.
Finally this Clash song sums up the dilemma for poor Simon. Hope he stays.