The fastest way to become a tabloid editor

Editing the Sun's Bizarre column appears to offer the surest route to the top

Dominic Mohan is reported to be the frontrunner to fill the vacant editor's chair at the Sun in today's Guardian but one angle the paper doesn't explore is the remarkably fast route to the top that the tabloid's gossip column Bizarre appears to offer.

Mohan, who edited Bizarre until 2003 and is now deputy editor, would be the third Bizarre alumnus (following Piers Morgan and Andy Coulson) to become a tabloid editor in recent years. Another former Bizarre editor, Victoria Newton, is currently the second favourite to replace Rebekah Brooks (née Wade) who will shortly become chief executive of the paper's parent company, News International.

As for the broadsheets, or rather "the qualities", it's business journalism that promises a swift ascent up the Fleet Street ladder. James Harding, the Times editor, began his career at the Financial Times and later became the Times's business editor. The editor of the Daily Telegraph, Will Lewis, also worked at the FT and later became City editor at the Sunday Times, where he won the admiration of Rupert Murdoch.

Michael Wolff, who recently published a biography of Murdoch, The Man Who Owns the News, noted after his meetings with the News Corp head: "I thought he [Murdoch] really liked Lewis, that there was something really there. If you had to single one person out, or one of a handful of people, who Murdoch would really like as part of News Corp, I think Will Lewis is one."

After landing the scoop of the decade with the expenses scandal, Lewis is now spoken of in some quarters as a possible Sun editor. But given that he will shortly begin a three-month Harvard management training course he is far more likely to bide his time and wait for a News Corp executive position.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Voters are turning against Brexit but the Lib Dems aren't benefiting

Labour's pro-Brexit stance is not preventing it from winning the support of Remainers. Will that change?

More than a year after the UK voted for Brexit, there has been little sign of buyer's remorse. The public, including around a third of Remainers, are largely of the view that the government should "get on with it".

But as real wages are squeezed (owing to the Brexit-linked inflationary spike) there are tentative signs that the mood is changing. In the event of a second referendum, an Opinium/Observer poll found, 47 per cent would vote Remain, compared to 44 per cent for Leave. Support for a repeat vote is also increasing. Forty one per cent of the public now favour a second referendum (with 48 per cent opposed), compared to 33 per cent last December. 

The Liberal Democrats have made halting Brexit their raison d'être. But as public opinion turns, there is no sign they are benefiting. Since the election, Vince Cable's party has yet to exceed single figures in the polls, scoring a lowly 6 per cent in the Opinium survey (down from 7.4 per cent at the election). 

What accounts for this disparity? After their near-extinction in 2015, the Lib Dems remain either toxic or irrelevant to many voters. Labour, by contrast, despite its pro-Brexit stance, has hoovered up Remainers (55 per cent back Jeremy Corbyn's party). 

In some cases, this reflects voters' other priorities. Remainers are prepared to support Labour on account of the party's stances on austerity, housing and education. Corbyn, meanwhile, is a eurosceptic whose internationalism and pro-migration reputation endear him to EU supporters. Other Remainers rewarded Labour MPs who voted against Article 50, rebelling against the leadership's stance. 

But the trend also partly reflects ignorance. By saying little on the subject of Brexit, Corbyn and Labour allowed Remainers to assume the best. Though there is little evidence that voters will abandon Corbyn over his EU stance, the potential exists.

For this reason, the proposal of a new party will continue to recur. By challenging Labour over Brexit, without the toxicity of Lib Dems, it would sharpen the choice before voters. Though it would not win an election, a new party could force Corbyn to soften his stance on Brexit or to offer a second referendum (mirroring Ukip's effect on the Conservatives).

The greatest problem for the project is that it lacks support where it counts: among MPs. For reasons of tribalism and strategy, there is no emergent "Gang of Four" ready to helm a new party. In the absence of a new convulsion, the UK may turn against Brexit without the anti-Brexiteers benefiting. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.