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12 January 2017

Commons Confidential: Jeremy Corbyn’s motorcycle diaries

The Sun's sources, Irish passports, and Corbyn in leather – maybe.

By Kevin Maguire

Things were tricky for Brexit Tories who went downhill fast at the annual Davos ski races with Swiss MPs. It was embarrassing after the land of the cuckoo clock agreed to abide by EU freedom-of-movement rules, when losing access to the single market was a price too high even for the anti-immigrant Swiss People’s Party. Labour’s Davos expert is Kinnock, Jr: the Aberavon MP, Stephen. He once toiled for the sinister World Economic Forum, which this month brings together bankers, oligarchs and politicians for the super elites’ annual bash.

Young Kinnock is now the head of Labour’s immigrant control wing, despite EU leaders making it clear that discriminating against the 27-strong family’s citizens would result in Britain being booted out of the single market. Perhaps he should have a quiet word with the Swiss socialist MPs accepting Brussels’s rules to avoid economic suicide.

Theresa May’s refusal to acknowledge publicly that turning away uninvited European grafters at Dover would trigger the single-market exit is causing confusion in her party’s ranks. The leader of the Tory MEPs, the Brexiteer Syed Kamall, distributed a survey in London that included the question: “Should we stay in the single market?” As my Tory snout observed: “You’d have thought he’d have worked it out by now!”

Journalists rightly guard sources closely but the Westminster whisper is that the expert-hating Tory quitter Michael Gove was the source for the Sun’s assertion that the Queen backed Brexit and the unbroadcast BBC version.

A Lib Dem snout claimed the second source cited by the Sun is supposed to be the political editor’s father, the former MEP Bill Newton Dunn. Nick Clegg, also at the infamous 2011 Windsor Castle lunch, maintains that Her Maj was merely grumpy about Europe and regretted the eclipse of the Commonwealth. You’d have thought a woman of German descent living happily in Blighty with a Greek was a poster monarch for European integration. British history might have travelled in a different direction had the “Ode to Joy” been replaced with “God Save the Queen”.

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Theresa May’s £995 Amanda Wakeley leg wear revved Jeremy Corbyn into reminiscing about his days wearing leather motorcycle gear. Labour’s leader insisted that accounts saying that he rode his bike to East Germany were inaccurate. He hitchhiked to Erich Honecker’s state behind the Iron Curtain and biked across western Europe to the communist-ruled Czechoslovakia. These details matter on the left.

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The TUC’s general secretary, Frances O’Grady, has joined the British throng obtaining an Irish passport. Workers of the world, unite! In Europe, anyway.

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

This article appears in the 11 Jan 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Putin's revenge