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10 December 2015

Commons Confidential: Knobbling Boris

Plus: has Nigel Farage fallen out with Ukip's paymaster?

By Kevin Maguire

The thought of Boris Johnson freewheeling his way out of London’s City Hall has Tory tongues wagging: what job will David Cameron award his old Bullingdon comrade when the Blond Ambition ceases to be mayor in May?

My snout gripping a red box whispered that Dave is being advised by another Buller boy and his heir apparent, George Osborne. The Treasury Trustafarian has a vested interest in knobbling BoJo before the keys to No 10 are passed around like a bottle of port at a posh hooligans’ club dinner. The snout pointed out that the Department for Transport is unusual in having no minister of state. Imagine if the anti-Heathrow BoJo was invited to attend cabinet as a senior transport minister to implement a government decision to expand the airport. By George! The poisoned chalice is a work of evil genius.

Oi, Samanfa, get a pass: the flustered Sam Cam almost missed the Syria bombing victory of her hubby. When the Prime Minister’s significant other tipped up without a ticket to watch the vote from the public gallery, her way was blocked by an unimpressed copper. My informant overheard the heiress apologise in finest Estuary English for failing to obtain the permanent pass available since Mr C became party leader ten years ago. While a flunkey scuttled off in search of a ticket, Sam vowed to apply for it. Hardly seems worth it when the toff of the people is poised to slip into history.

Is Jeremy Corbyn wearying of Ken Livingstone’s outbursts? I am told that John Cryer, the chief convenor of MPs as chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party, left a meeting with the leader believing that Red Ken was to be replaced by a trade unionist at the helm of the party’s defence review alongside Maria “Hawk” Eagle: either crossed wires or Corbyn’s second thoughts.

Has Nigel Farage fallen out with Ukip’s idiosyncratic paymaster Arron Banks? My source in a purple shirt muttered that Farage accepts that the squillionaire’s Leave.EU group is second best and its rival Vote Leave will be sanctioned as the official British “Out” referendum campaign. Ending the split between the Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea would be easier than healing this Europhobic rift.

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Within an hour of voting to bomb Syria, a tired and emotional Tory veteran was so discombobulated that he asked a policeman the way out of Central Lobby – the grand meeting hall he had used for ten years. It must have been something he ate.

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The Daily Torygraph scribbler Allison Pearson’s judgemental columns should be fascinating in future. I see that she was declared bankrupt by HMRC over an unpaid tax bill. I don’t know how she does it.

Kevin Maguire is the associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror

This article appears in the 09 Dec 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The clash of empires