View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
9 February 2017

Commons confidential: The Brexit chill

Furtive whisperings among Tory MPs and late nights for the PM.

By Kevin Maguire

Diane Abbott is Jeremy Corbyn’s most influential comrade, closer to the leader than even John McDonnell. The Hackney Hatchet hijacked January’s Labour relaunch by squatting in the leader’s office until he agreed to defend free movement. After her Brexit migraine, an informant muttered that her north London neighbour David Lammy had told a meeting of party members in Tottenham that she had consistently supported migration and didn’t believe what she is now forced to utter publicly. In journalism we know that as “for ‘yes’ read ‘no’”.

Sunken eyes and a near-permanent sniffle leave Tory MPs fretting over the Prime Minister’s health. A radar-lugged nark in the tearoom overheard a table of Conservatives discussing how knackered Theresa May looks. The consensus was that pressures of the post, including an exhausting trip to pay homage to Donald Trump, are taking their toll.

Tiredness is a symptom of the PM’s type 1 diabetes and one of May’s cabinet ministers told me he feared she would be forced to slow the pace. Another snout whispered that a critical role of May’s No 10 Rottweiler Fiona Hill is to protect “the boss” from avoidable stress as the day wears on. If MPs and ministers in Westminster are deliberating May’s stamina, surely it will soon be a topic of national conversation.

Furtive Brexit discussions were earwigged in the foyer of 1 Parliament Street between the former Tory ministers Ed Vaizey and Dominic Grieve. The Remoaner Vaizey fancied himself as a resistance leader, while the constitutionalist Grieve evidently controlled “my people” in the battle over Britain’s EU departure. Unofficial whips, including Hazy Vaizey, outnumber May’s paid enforcers.

By glorious coincidence, one of Culture Secretary Karen Bradley’s special advisers is Craig Woodhouse, a Sun reporter who wrote the 2013 premature story “Arise Sir Becks”, conferring a knighthood that never was on David Beckham. The upside is that the spad is in a prime position to advise his line manager to fulfil the player’s wish.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

On a foray to the Rooftop Arts Centre in Corby, Labour’s deputy dawg and culture vulture, Tom Watson, was prodded by a newspaper snapper into sketching a picture. He drew a lemon. That’ll be the lemon that Watson observed Corbyn was forced to suck, in agreeing not to erase May’s Brexit.

Charlie Windsor has reason other than climate change to bridle at the prospect of Donald Trump enjoying the full royal works state visit. The US president, I’m assured, was tickled during a 2005 visit to the US by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall when the New York Post renamed Camilla “Frump Tower”.

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

Content from our partners
Future proofing the NHS
Where do we get the money to fix the world's biggest problems? – with ONE
Labour's health reforms can put patients first

This article appears in the 08 Feb 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The May Doctrine

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU