Did George Osborne cross the line with gruesome PM comment?

The former chancellor reportedly said he wants Theresa May ‘chopped up in bags in my freezer’

May and Osborne in happier days

George Osborne has done little to disguise his disdain for Theresa May since she sacked him as chancellor last July.

The former politician, now editor of the London Evening Standard, seemed to revel in her election fiasco and dubbed her a “dead woman walking”.

But he may have taken the joke too far after apparently making gruesome comments about the Tory leader that were repeated in an Esquire magazine profile of him, headlined “George Osborne’s revenge”.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

“Osborne’s animus against May is complicated in origin - personal, political, ideological, tactical - but purely felt,” writes Esquire’s Ed Caesar.“When I met him at the Standard this past spring, he was polite enough about the Prime Minister. But according to one staffer at the newspaper, Osborne has told more than one person that he will not rest until she ‘is chopped up in bags in my freezer’.”

May sacked Osborne when she replaced David Cameron following the Brexit referendum in 2016. Since then, Osborne has compared her leadership to the “living dead in a second-rate horror film”, in an editorial in his paper, and claimed she was like a zombie, but May has repeatedly refused to take the bait.

“The contents of the former chancellor’s freezer are probably not a matter for me,” her spokesman said in an official statement, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Other Tories were more outspoken. “The sadness of George Osborne is that he is a formidably able man,” Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg told LBC. “He served with distinction as chancellor of the Exchequer and he has decided since leaving Parliament to emulate a rather less successful Edward Heath.”

May’s former adviser Nick Timothy, not known for his subtlety, posted a series of Tweets implying Osborne was an “a***hole”, The New Statesman reports.

See more

Meanwhile, Nadine Dorries, who once called Osborne and Cameron “arrogant posh boys who don’t know the price of milk”, said Osborne’s freezer comment, if proven to be true, provided “a brief insight into how his mind works - and always has”, Sky News reports.

Even Labour MPs rallied to the PM’s defence. Chris Bryant called on the former chancellor to apologise. “It’s that kind of language, which I think is misogynistic in its basis, which should be done away with,” Bryant said.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.