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27 May 2018updated 24 Jun 2021 12:21pm

Week Ahead #1: Elephants, Zombies and John Bercow

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By Stephen Bush

It’s our last day in the old NS offices at Blackfriars today before we move into our new digs in Temple. I’m grateful for the reduced commute between HQ and my office in Parliament, but I’ll miss the old office.

We moved into it shortly after the 2015 election and since then we’ve covered two Labour leadership elections, the 2016 Scottish and Welsh elections, the Brexit referendum, the election of Donald Trump and the snap general election, so we’re saying goodbye to a lot of memories, and also to our dishwasher.

Here in Parliament, we’re expecting a quiet week. The only significant piece of legislation before the House is the Ivory Bill, which bans the sale of – you guessed it – ivory. Theresa May’s U-Turn on the ivory trade was one of the things that hurt her in the election and the Conservatives hope that going big on how much they love cute animals will improve the party’s standing.

Lend us your ears

Half of writing a good column is finding the right music to listen to. (If I ever find out what the other half is, I’ll tell you, etc. etc.) I’ll be adding to this Spotify playlist every week with what I’ve listened to while desperately trying to find synonyms for “the Labour leader”.

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Out this week

Out in cinemas: Playing the Part follows Sir Ian McKellen reflecting on his acting career and his other job as an advocate for LGBT rights.

In non-fiction, lovers of passive-aggressive presents should check out Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Account, out Tuesday. Anthony Horowitz is the latest author to try his hand at writing James Bond: Forever and a Day is out in all good bookshops on Thursday.

I’ve just finished Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and it was brilliant: funny, heartbreaking and a real page-turner too. Patrick is making his way through Himself Alone, Dean Godson’s biography of David Trimble. Dulcie, who is sadly leaving us for the Times, is reading Classical and Quantum Cosmology. Jasper is reading Tina Brown’s Vanity Fair diaries.

In case you missed it

Who’ll replace John Bercow as Speaker of the House of Commons?

It’s Labour’s “turn” to fill the role of Speaker but that many Tory MPs regard Bercow as a de facto Labour mole means that some Conservatives are talkin up Eleanor Laing, his Conservative deputy, instead of Lindsay Hoyle, his Labour deputy and longtime favourite for the role.

But Patrick hears that another candidate is now being touted: well-respected Labour operator and Gedling MP Vernon Coaker. “Two decades teaching in East Midlands comprehensives are surely more than adequate preparation for controlling the Commons.”

And finally

Residents of Lake Worth, Florida, received messages from city officials telling them that a power outage was “due to extreme zombie activity”. Local authority spokesman Ben Kerr told reporters that the bogus message was being investigated and reiterated that “Lake Worth does not have any zombie activity”. Lake Worth authorities have yet to reveal what caused the power outage, which hit 7800 households and lasted up to half an hour in some places.

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