Lynne Featherstone will return to the Home Office as crime prevention minister. Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Lynne Featherstone to replace Norman Baker at the Home Office

The Dfid minister will replace Norman Baker at the Home Office.

Lynne Featherstone, the Lib Dem MP and international development minister, is to replace Norman Baker at the Home Office as crime prevention minister. Baker announced his resignation this morning, criticising Theresa May for treating her coalition colleagues like "a cuckoo in the nest".

Featherstone, who has worked before at the Home Office, as a junior minister in 2010-12, commented:

I am very happy to be returning to the Home Office. I am very proud of what I was able to achieve in my previous role there, not least introducing equal marriage, ending the fingerprinting of children and banning wheel clamping on private land.

I am also looking forward to continuing my work tackling violence against women and girls and on ending FGM at home and abroad. I have always had a very constructive relationship with Theresa May and I look forward to working with her again.

Insiders report that Featherstone did not enjoy the Home Office in her time there as much as her statement today suggests, preferring Justine Greening's leadership at Dfid. However, she has not been thought of as a particularly impressive minister at the latter department, as she is perceived not to have spoken up a great deal about her brief – although this could be due to coalition relations there being far smoother than under Theresa May.

She will be replaced at Dfid by Baroness Northover as parliamentary under secretary. Nick Clegg has done a little shuffle round of his team, the details of which are here.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.

Show Hide image

A man who accused a gay donkey of trying to rape his horse runs for Ukip leader

Another high-quality candidate.

John Rees-Evans, the Ukip candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth in the 2015 general election, is the latest to enter the Ukip leadership contest. And just as your mole thought bigotbait factory Breitbart’s Raheem Kassam was the fruitiest character in the running.

Rees-Evans, a Wales-based Ukipper who used to be in the army, is best-known for a bizarre story he told protesters outside his office in 2014. In which he accused a gay donkey of trying to rape his horse.

Having been asked to respond to a comment by a fellow party member – Julia Gasper – claiming “some homosexuals prefer sex with animals”, Rees-Evans replied:

“Actually, I’ve witnessed that. Yes! I was personally quite amazed. I’ve got a horse and it was there in the field. My horse is a stallion, right. And a donkey came up, which was male, and I’m afraid tried to rape my horse . . .

“So in this case, it’s obviously correct because the homosexual donkey tried to with an animal. But I don’t think that’s what it meant, it’s just a bizarre coincidence.”

Since making his bid for Ukip’s leadership, Rees-Evans has had to take back his controversial claim about the gay donkey on the BBC’s Daily Politics.

He said:

“It was a bit of playful banter with a mischievous activist, OK? . . . I concede it was a mistake to be playful with an activist in the street. The point is I’m not a politician. The guy was just asking me questions in the street. It was an error of judgement. I was very early coming into politics and I’m sorry if I offended anyone by doing that but please can we move on?”


Rees-Evans also made headlines by telling VICE that he persuaded IKEA staff to let him take a gun into a branch of IKEA in Bulgaria last year to protect him in the event of a terrorist siege.

Your mole thinks Nigel Farage is beginning to look like Abraham Lincoln.

I'm a mole, innit.