No cars for ministers, just for their red boxes

Ministers are forced to take trains and buses while their red box rides in a car.

You'll remember how, in his early "Vote blue, go green" days, David Cameron was rather embarrassed when it emerged that he cycles to work -- but has his car follow behind with his suit and briefcase.

Perhaps in an attempt to atone for his environmental sins, Cameron announced a ban on ministerial cars in all but the most exceptional circumstances.

But today's Guardian reports that the move has hit something of a roadblock. While ministers are now obliged to take the train, their red boxes, for security reasons, must travel separately in a private car.

To compound the confusion, the same ministers are prohibited from accompanying their red boxes in the car in order to work.

There is something wonderfully English and absurdist about a minister struggling against the vagaries of the train timetables (and even the dreaded rail replacement bus) while his red box enjoys a smooth ride in a Jag.

But before he lets his ministers loose on the trains, Cameron might like to remember the unfortunate experience of his director of strategy, Steve Hilton, who felt the long arm of the law after an expletive-fuelled row with rail staff.

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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