Jemima Khan joins the New Statesman

The writer and human rights campaigner will join us in November.

Following the success of her guest edit in April, Jemima Khan will be joining the New Statesman as Associate Editor next month.

Her role will involve commissioning and writing for the magazine and working on specially curated issues. She will start on 14 November.

Khan's Free Speech special issue of the magazine on 11 April broke two agenda-setting stories - her own interview with Nick Clegg, in which he spoke candidly about the trials of being a hate figure, and Hugh Grant's undercover exposé of hacking at News of the World.

It featured further contributions from fine writers and fascinating public figures including Oliver Stone, Tim Robbins, Russell Brand, Simon Pegg, Rory Stewart, Alain de Botton and Jarvis Cocker, as well as a major 4,000-word investigation of brutality and corruption in the New Orleans law-enforcement system by the journalist James Fox.

The New Statesman's editor, Jason Cowley, said: "I'm delighted that Jemima is joining us and that I have tempted her away from the Independent. She worked brilliantly with the whole team on her guest-edited issue of the New Statesman.

"She is a first-rate journalist who has strong campaigning instincts and a powerful interest in international affairs and human rights issues. She's very popular among the staff."

Jemima Khan said: "I loved working on the guest edit at the beginning of the year and I am delighted to become a permanent part of the exceptional team at the New Statesman. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Independent but the challenge of a wider role at the New Statesman was too tempting."

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.

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The buck doesn't stop with Grant Shapps - and probably shouldn't stop with Lord Feldman, either

The question of "who knew what, and when?" shouldn't stop with the Conservative peer.

If Grant Shapps’ enforced resignation as a minister was intended to draw a line under the Mark Clarke affair, it has had the reverse effect. Attention is now shifting to Lord Feldman, who was joint chair during Shapps’  tenure at the top of CCHQ.  It is not just the allegations of sexual harrassment, bullying, and extortion against Mark Clarke, but the question of who knew what, and when.

Although Shapps’ resignation letter says that “the buck” stops with him, his allies are privately furious at his de facto sacking, and they are pointing the finger at Feldman. They point out that not only was Feldman the senior partner on paper, but when the rewards for the unexpected election victory were handed out, it was Feldman who was held up as the key man, while Shapps was given what they see as a relatively lowly position in the Department for International Development.  Yet Feldman is still in post while Shapps was effectively forced out by David Cameron. Once again, says one, “the PM’s mates are protected, the rest of us shafted”.

As Simon Walters reports in this morning’s Mail on Sunday, the focus is turning onto Feldman, while Paul Goodman, the editor of the influential grassroots website ConservativeHome has piled further pressure on the peer by calling for him to go.

But even Feldman’s resignation is unlikely to be the end of the matter. Although the scope of the allegations against Clarke were unknown to many, questions about his behaviour were widespread, and fears about the conduct of elections in the party’s youth wing are also longstanding. Shortly after the 2010 election, Conservative student activists told me they’d cheered when Sadiq Khan defeated Clarke in Tooting, while a group of Conservative staffers were said to be part of the “Six per cent club” – they wanted a swing big enough for a Tory majority, but too small for Clarke to win his seat. The viciousness of Conservative Future’s internal elections is sufficiently well-known, meanwhile, to be a repeated refrain among defenders of the notoriously opaque democratic process in Labour Students, with supporters of a one member one vote system asked if they would risk elections as vicious as those in their Tory equivalent.

Just as it seems unlikely that Feldman remained ignorant of allegations against Clarke if Shapps knew, it feels untenable to argue that Clarke’s defeat could be cheered by both student Conservatives and Tory staffers and the unpleasantness of the party’s internal election sufficiently well-known by its opponents, without coming across the desk of Conservative politicians above even the chair of CCHQ’s paygrade.

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.