"A different type of people" travel standard class, says Tory MP

Retiring Nicholas Winterton blasts new parliament rules banning first class travel.

Out of touch? Check. Rampant disregard for public opinion? Check. Sir Nicholas Winterton, the soon-to-retire Tory MP for Macclesfield, brought them all out this morning.

Hot from an interview with Total Politics magazine, where he took issue with new rules that will stop MPs from travelling first class, he told BBC Radio 5 Live this morning that those who travel standard class are "a totally different type of people", with a "different outlook on life".

Talk about digging yourself a hole. He had already caused a stir when he told Total Politics that the move would put MPs "below local councillors and officers of local government".

CCHQ had issued a rebuttal by 11.45am (pretty impressive, considering his appearance on 5 Live was between 10am and 11am):

These are the out-of-touch views of a soon-to-retire backbench MP. They do not in any way represent the view of David Cameron and the Conservative Party and should be treated as such.

Let's hope all those "different types" of voters take that on board.

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Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Tom Watson rouses Labour's conference as he comes out fighting

The party's deputy leader exhilarated delegates with his paean to the Blair and Brown years. 

Tom Watson is down but not out. After Jeremy Corbyn's second landslide victory, and weeks of threats against his position, Labour's deputy leader could have played it safe. Instead, he came out fighting. 

With Corbyn seated directly behind him, he declared: "I don't know why we've been focusing on what was wrong with the Blair and Brown governments for the last six years. But trashing our record is not the way to enhance our brand. We won't win elections like that! And we need to win elections!" As Watson won a standing ovation from the hall and the platform, the Labour leader remained motionless. When a heckler interjected, Watson riposted: "Jeremy, I don't think she got the unity memo." Labour delegates, many of whom hail from the pre-Corbyn era, lapped it up.

Though he warned against another challenge to the leader ("we can't afford to keep doing this"), he offered a starkly different account of the party's past and its future. He reaffirmed Labour's commitment to Nato ("a socialist construct"), with Corbyn left isolated as the platform applauded. The only reference to the leader came when Watson recalled his recent PMQs victory over grammar schools. There were dissenting voices (Watson was heckled as he praised Sadiq Khan for winning an election: "Just like Jeremy Corbyn!"). But one would never have guessed that this was the party which had just re-elected Corbyn. 

There was much more to Watson's speech than this: a fine comic riff on "Saturday's result" (Ed Balls on Strictly), a spirited attack on Theresa May's "ducking and diving; humming and hahing" and a cerebral account of the automation revolution. But it was his paean to Labour history that roused the conference as no other speaker has. 

The party's deputy channelled the spirit of both Hugh Gaitskell ("fight, and fight, and fight again to save the party we love") and his mentor Gordon Brown (emulating his trademark rollcall of New Labour achivements). With his voice cracking, Watson recalled when "from the sunny uplands of increasing prosperity social democratic government started to feel normal to the people of Britain". For Labour, a party that has never been further from power in recent decades, that truly was another age. But for a brief moment, Watson's tubthumper allowed Corbyn's vanquished opponents to relive it. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.