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Announcing the jury for the New Statesman SPERI Prize for Political Economy

The jury for the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute and the New Statesman's new prize for original and critical writing in political economy has been decided.

The New Statesman and the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) at the University of Sheffield are delighted to announce the names of the members of the jury that will choose the first winner of the New Statesman SPERI Prize for Political Economy.

The prize was announced last month and will be awarded biennially, starting in 2014, to the scholar who has succeeded most effectively over the preceding two or three years in disseminating original and critical ideas in political economy to a wider national and international public audience.

The members of the jury are as follows:

Helen Lewis – Deputy Editor of the New Statesman

George Eaton – Political Editor of the New Statesman

Tony Payne – Professor of Political Economy and Director of SPERI at the University of Sheffield

Andrew Gamble – Professor of Politics at the University of Cambridge and Chair of the International Advisory Board of SPERI

Sarah O’Connor – Economics Correspondent at the Financial Times

Gavin Kelly – Chief Executive of The Resolution Foundation.

The jury will be chaired by Professor Tony Payne from SPERI.

The jury will publish a shortlist of five to six names in September and announce the winner of the prize in October. He or she will then deliver the New Statesman SPERI Prize Lecture at the Royal Institution in London at a date to be confirmed in November 2014.

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Theresa May is paying the price for mismanaging Boris Johnson

The Foreign Secretary's bruised ego may end up destroying Theresa May. 

And to think that Theresa May scheduled her big speech for this Friday to make sure that Conservative party conference wouldn’t be dominated by the matter of Brexit. Now, thanks to Boris Johnson, it won’t just be her conference, but Labour’s, which is overshadowed by Brexit in general and Tory in-fighting in particular. (One imagines that the Labour leadership will find a way to cope somehow.)

May is paying the price for mismanaging Johnson during her period of political hegemony after she became leader. After he was betrayed by Michael Gove and lacking any particular faction in the parliamentary party, she brought him back from the brink of political death by making him Foreign Secretary, but also used her strength and his weakness to shrink his empire.

The Foreign Office had its responsibility for negotiating Brexit hived off to the newly-created Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) and for navigating post-Brexit trade deals to the Department of International Trade. Johnson was given control of one of the great offices of state, but with no responsibility at all for the greatest foreign policy challenge since the Second World War.

Adding to his discomfort, the new Foreign Secretary was regularly the subject of jokes from the Prime Minister and cabinet colleagues. May likened him to a dog that had to be put down. Philip Hammond quipped about him during his joke-fuelled 2017 Budget. All of which gave Johnson’s allies the impression that Johnson-hunting was a licensed sport as far as Downing Street was concerned. He was then shut out of the election campaign and has continued to be a marginalised figure even as the disappointing election result forced May to involve the wider cabinet in policymaking.

His sense of exclusion from the discussions around May’s Florence speech only added to his sense of isolation. May forgot that if you aren’t going to kill, don’t wound: now, thanks to her lost majority, she can’t afford to put any of the Brexiteers out in the cold, and Johnson is once again where he wants to be: centre-stage. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.