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7 September 2017

Commons Confidential: Is Corbyn a secret Catholic?

We think we know the answer to the age-old question about the Pope.

By Kevin Maguire

Socialism may not be Jeremy Corbyn’s only religion: my slack-jawed snouts spied him taking Holy Communion. Refusing to “do God” is the sole leadership trait that he shares with Tony Blair. Brother Jeremy has maintained that it’s “a private thing” when quizzed about his personal beliefs. The common assumption that he is an atheist or agnostic may need reviewing, after Corbyn was observed accepting what left-footers in the pews of the Sacred Heart in Kilburn, north London, called “the full biscuit” from the Catholic church’s priest.

Corbyn queued for his blessed wafer alongside his wife, Laura Alvarez, who hails from the predominantly Catholic Mexico, at the funeral of the GMB union president, Mary Turner. We think we know the answer to the age-old question about the Pope, but could Corbyn also be a Catholic?

Damian Green turning against Theresa May would be like ravens flying from the Tower of London or Barbary macaques leaving Gibraltar, so my ears pricked up when a Tory informant whispered that even her First Friend of State is privately exasperated with her. Green was among the cabinet ministers who judged May wrong to declare that she wanted to fight another general election.

The pair’s friendship goes back to Oxford University, and this isn’t the first time Green has felt prickly. I’m told that when David Cameron sacked him as policing minister in May’s Home Office three years ago, the diddums was hurt that May sent a cursory text instead of heartfelt commiserations.

The promotion of Rebecca Long-Bailey led the Labour leadership to nominate the Corbynista shadow business secretary to speak at the TUC general council’s dinner at the annual congress in Brighton. Brexit votes in parliament on 11 September forced her to pull out. A narrow escape: her idea of entertaining an audience is to read out the producer price index.

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Classic John Prescott confusion at a seaside rally in Southport, Merseyside, this summer. Labour’s former deputy leader surprised the crowd by greeting Southampton. Prezza stood and lost in Southport at the 1966 election: not surprising if he thought he was campaigning 250 miles away in Hampshire.

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Tedious Theresa in Japan, the land of karaoke, warbled that she had never picked up a mic and belted out a track. Not so the Downing Street entourage, which sneaked out of a Tokyo hotel to murder songs in a local bar. When the cat’s asleep, the mice will screech.

Ermine for Kezia Dugdale? Scottish Labour’s former leader quit suspiciously nicely without the usual recriminations. Shadow ministers wonder aloud if she’s destined for the Lords.

This article appears in the 06 Sep 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Corbyn’s next move