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New boys on the block: Your guide to the Kings of the Downing Street catwalk

  • William Hague wore a suit
  • Michael Gove wore a suit
  • Philip Hammond wore a suit
  • Daringly, Michael Fallon wore a suit
  • All the men wore suits

He sashayed into Downing Street, offering a daring glimpse of his hand. And his face. And just a glimpse of the bare skin on the top of his head.

William Hague knew that all eyes would be on him as he stepped down from the Foreign Office, and he dressed accordingly, carefully balancing the undeniable erotic charge of his low-cut suit jacket with the businesslike light blue tie.

But the former Foreign Secretary wasn't the only boy keen to show off his style credentials on the Downing Street catwalk. Here, we present the Media Mole guide to the hottest - and the nottest - of Dave's Dashers.

William Hague keeps it simple in a navy suit, flashing a little rugged hand, the sunlight glistening on the dewy skin of his daringly nude scalp. But is that slim cut leg really appropriate for the workplace, Mr Hague? We can practically see the outline of your knee. These trousers are simply too sexy for a serious Cabinet operator. 

Michael Gove flaunts his embonpoint in this open suit jacket - he knows he has what men want (great off-the-record briefings) and he's not afraid to show it. He is carrying this season's "generic man bag", though, which lets the ensemble down. Next time, he should keep it classic with an LK Bennett tote in a jewel tone.

And all eyes will be on that cheeky spotted tie: putting the "hip" into "Chief Whip". 

Philip Hammond, are you flirting with us? The new foreign secretary strides out provocatively, in this daring navy suit. His nails, cut into the shape of human nails, show that he means business. Note the leg-lengthening black shoes, showing that he's not afraid to sacrifice practicality for style.

No longer shrouded in winter's 60-denier opaques, Michael Fallon's legs are shown off to great effect here in this daring navy suit. See how he's not afraid to flash a glimpse of his face and hands? The new defence minister has serious body confidence - clearly the product of an intensive regime of exfoliation. 

Owen Paterson's thrillingly low-slung trousers might win him fashion plaudits, but they're on the very edge of work-appropriate attire - another inch, Owen Paterson, and you'll be showing us your own "culled badger". The colour - navy - adds a daring edge to an otherwise simple outfit. 

There hasn't been a Tory Cabinet minister with a beard for more than 100 years, so the new Welsh secretary Stephen Crabb knows that he could have trouble being taken seriously at the top table. He's carefully styled his facial hair with top-flight politics in mind, eschewing the traditional Marx-style bush and the Prussian Walrus moustache, in favour of a sleek chin-curtain that says: no, boyos, you can't have a referendum like Scotland. Deal with it. 

Daringly, he's worn a suit in this season's most fashion-forward colour, navy.

Long a staple on the best-dressed lists, Jeremy Wright has had to tone down his love of fashion to join the government. Normally seen in leather lederhosen or a Borat-style mankini, here he's kept it simple here in a navy suit. There's still a glimpse of the old Jeremy on show, though: look at the rakish angle of those glasses. 

Has someone had a blow-dry? Oliver Letwin knew he had to make a big impression on the Downing Street doorstep, and it shows in every inch of his lusciously tousled locks and artfully teased eyebrows. Mrs Thatcher is clearly a style icon for the chi-chi MP, as well as a political one. Daringly, he's wearing a suit. 

Put your hands up if you want to rule the Downing Street catwalk? Brooks Newmark celebrates his elevation to the ranks of junior ministers in this daring navy suit. He keeps his accessories simple - just a plain signet ring - channelling this season's luxury minimalism trend. But will he be taken seriously in Whitehall in that tie? Only time will tell.

 

(Think this is ridiculous? Have a look at this.)

All images are from Getty. 

I'm a mole, innit.

Photo: Getty Images
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There are risks as well as opportunities ahead for George Osborne

The Chancellor is in a tight spot, but expect his political wiles to be on full display, says Spencer Thompson.

The most significant fiscal event of this parliament will take place in late November, when the Chancellor presents the spending review setting out his plans for funding government departments over the next four years. This week, across Whitehall and up and down the country, ministers, lobbyists, advocacy groups and town halls are busily finalising their pitches ahead of Friday’s deadline for submissions to the review

It is difficult to overstate the challenge faced by the Chancellor. Under his current spending forecast and planned protections for the NHS, schools, defence and international aid spending, other areas of government will need to be cut by 16.4 per cent in real terms between 2015/16 and 2019/20. Focusing on services spending outside of protected areas, the cumulative cut will reach 26.5 per cent. Despite this, the Chancellor nonetheless has significant room for manoeuvre.

Firstly, under plans unveiled at the budget, the government intends to expand capital investment significantly in both 2018-19 and 2019-20. Over the last parliament capital spending was cut by around a quarter, but between now and 2019-20 it will grow by almost 20 per cent. How this growth in spending should be distributed across departments and between investment projects should be at the heart of the spending review.

In a paper published on Monday, we highlighted three urgent priorities for any additional capital spending: re-balancing transport investment away from London and the greater South East towards the North of England, a £2bn per year boost in public spending on housebuilding, and £1bn of extra investment per year in energy efficiency improvements for fuel-poor households.

Secondly, despite the tough fiscal environment, the Chancellor has the scope to fund a range of areas of policy in dire need of extra resources. These include social care, where rising costs at a time of falling resources are set to generate a severe funding squeeze for local government, 16-19 education, where many 6th-form and FE colleges are at risk of great financial difficulty, and funding a guaranteed paid job for young people in long-term unemployment. Our paper suggests a range of options for how to put these and other areas of policy on a sustainable funding footing.

There is a political angle to this as well. The Conservatives are keen to be seen as a party representing all working people, as shown by the "blue-collar Conservatism" agenda. In addition, the spending review offers the Conservative party the opportunity to return to ‘Compassionate Conservatism’ as a going concern.  If they are truly serious about being seen in this light, this should be reflected in a social investment agenda pursued through the spending review that promotes employment and secures a future for public services outside the NHS and schools.

This will come at a cost, however. In our paper, we show how the Chancellor could fund our package of proposed policies without increasing the pain on other areas of government, while remaining consistent with the government’s fiscal rules that require him to reach a surplus on overall government borrowing by 2019-20. We do not agree that the Government needs to reach a surplus in that year. But given this target wont be scrapped ahead of the spending review, we suggest that he should target a slightly lower surplus in 2019/20 of £7bn, with the deficit the year before being £2bn higher. In addition, we propose several revenue-raising measures in line with recent government tax policy that together would unlock an additional £5bn of resource for government departments.

Make no mistake, this will be a tough settlement for government departments and for public services. But the Chancellor does have a range of options open as he plans the upcoming spending review. Expect his reputation as a highly political Chancellor to be on full display.

Spencer Thompson is economic analyst at IPPR