Which former Tory chancellor opposes HS2?

Suspicion falls on Norman Lamont.

Ahead of tomorrow's anticipated Tory rebellion over HS2, Independent editor Amol Rajan writes in the Evening Standard, "a former (and recent) Tory chancellor, who won’t speak in public because of the damage it would do to the Prime Minister, told me that he opposes HS2 'because the costs are obscene and all the benefits go to the South'."

Who could he be referring to? I only note that Rajan appeared alongside Norman Lamont on Sky News's Murnaghan Programme last Sunday. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Gordon Brown contemplated making Alastair Campbell a minister

The move is revealed in Ed Balls' new book.

Gordon Brown contemplated making Alastair Campbell, a sports minister. Campbell had served as Tony Blair’s press chief from 1994 to 2003, Ed Balls has revealed.

Although the move fell through, Campbell would have been one of a number of high-profile ministerial appointments, usually through the Lords, made by Brown during his tenure at 10 Downing Street.

Other unusual appointments included the so-called “Goats” appointed in 2007, part of what Brown dubbed “the government of all the talents”, in which Ara Darzi, a respected surgeon, Mark Malloch-Brown, formerly a United Nations diplomat,  Alan West, a former admiral, Paul Myners, a  successful businessman, and Digby Jones, former director-general of the CBI, took ministerial posts and seats in the Lords. While Darzi, West and Myners were seen as successes on Whitehall, Jones quit the government after a year and became a vocal critic of both Brown’s successors as Labour leader, Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn.

The story is revealed in Ed Balls’ new book, Speaking Out, a record of his time as a backroom adviser and later Cabinet and shadow cabinet minister until the loss of his seat in May 2015. It is published 6 September.