Five most likely to exit Cameron’s cabinet

Too early to discuss such things?

Perhaps, in this era of "new politics", it's the wrong subject at the wrong time. And with the love-in in the Downing Street garden still fresh in the memory, and a honeymoon that will surely take us into the summer, it will seem churlish to some to dwell on departures, splits and ruptures.

Fortunately, the betting markets don't care for such sentimentality. This is who they think will be first out of the door:

  1. Vince Cable: 25 per cent
  2. Nick Clegg: 20 per cent
  3. Theresa May: 18 per cent
  4. Chris Huhne: 16.67 per cent
  5. Lord Strathclyde: 11 per cent

(Odds courtesy of Smarkets, as of 3pm, 14 May)

Theresa May's presence on the list -- sandwiched by three Lib Dems -- has nothing to do with her getting disillusioned by this marriage of convenience. Rather, it's the reality of the role. David Cameron gave her what is known on the terraces as a "hospital pass" when he appointed her to the Home Office.

Between 1997 and 2010, Labour home secretaries lasted barely two years each on average. In fact, during the last parliament, the average stay as was just 15 months.

Even so, the punters have Vince and Nick getting out of there even earlier.

Special offer: get 12 issues of the New Statesman for just £5.99 plus a free copy of "Liberty in the Age of Terror" by A C Grayling.


Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

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It's Gary Lineker 1, the Sun 0

The football hero has found himself at the heart of a Twitter storm over the refugee children debate.

The Mole wonders what sort of topsy-turvy universe we now live in where Gary Lineker is suddenly being called a “political activist” by a Conservative MP? Our favourite big-eared football pundit has found himself in a war of words with the Sun newspaper after wading into the controversy over the age of the refugee children granted entry into Britain from Calais.

Pictures published earlier this week in the right-wing press prompted speculation over the migrants' “true age”, and a Tory MP even went as far as suggesting that these children should have their age verified by dental X-rays. All of which leaves your poor Mole with a deeply furrowed brow. But luckily the British Dental Association was on hand to condemn the idea as unethical, inaccurate and inappropriate. Phew. Thank God for dentists.

Back to old Big Ears, sorry, Saint Gary, who on Wednesday tweeted his outrage over the Murdoch-owned newspaper’s scaremongering coverage of the story. He smacked down the ex-English Defence League leader, Tommy Robinson, in a single tweet, calling him a “racist idiot”, and went on to defend his right to express his opinions freely on his feed.

The Sun hit back in traditional form, calling for Lineker to be ousted from his job as host of the BBC’s Match of the Day. The headline they chose? “Out on his ears”, of course, referring to the sporting hero’s most notable assets. In the article, the tabloid lays into Lineker, branding him a “leftie luvvie” and “jug-eared”. The article attacked him for describing those querying the age of the young migrants as “hideously racist” and suggested he had breached BBC guidelines on impartiality.

All of which has prompted calls for a boycott of the Sun and an outpouring of support for Lineker on Twitter. His fellow football hero Stan Collymore waded in, tweeting that he was on “Team Lineker”. Leading the charge against the Murdoch-owned title was the close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former Channel 4 News economics editor, Paul Mason, who tweeted:

Lineker, who is not accustomed to finding himself at the centre of such highly politicised arguments on social media, responded with typical good humour, saying he had received a bit of a “spanking”.

All of which leaves the Mole with renewed respect for Lineker and an uncharacteristic desire to watch this weekend’s Match of the Day to see if any trace of his new activist persona might surface.


I'm a mole, innit.