Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
14 November 2018

Commons Confidential: Red Ed plots a comeback

Your weekly dose of gossip from around Westminster.

By Kevin Maguire

Ed Miliband is finally ready to serve in a “big job” under Jeremy Corbyn, I’m informed by a very reliable snout. Labour’s former leader, criticised for not publicly condemning the current principal during the summer’s anti-Semitism controversy, is weighing up whether it’s better to jump into the shadow cabinet or wait until the real thing should Labour win a Brexit fallout general election. Timing could be dictated by when Comrade Corbyn wants Red Ed back.

Both Theresa May and Corbyn are speaking at the CBI’s annual business moanathon next week. Conference security will be tight. Islamists and, increasingly, far-right terrorists are a mortal danger. Organisers fear a repeat of 2015’s Leave-inspired incident, in which a couple of spotty Brexit fanatics set up a fake company to gain access and disrupt David Cameron’s speech. Protesters demanding a “proper Brexit” would be shameless.

The House of Commons Commission is a rolling bar brawl since last week’s revelation that it discussed banning booze. Andrea Leadsom’s table insist she’s a peacemaker after Speaker John Bercow’s opening gambit was total prohibition. Tory traditionalist Paul Beresford splutters indignantly on his stool, Labour’s Valerie Vaz wants drinking corked, while deputy speaker Rosie Winterton’s demanding procedures are followed. The lot of them need to go for a drink to calm down.

Royal Mail privatisation continues to dog Vince Cable, charged with selling it on the cheap for £1bn when ConDem business secretary. A company accused of profiteering by flogging prime sites for housing is doing him no favours: the Lib Dem leader is engulfed in a row over plans to shut his constituency’s Hampton sorting office, transferring collections to Ashford almost an hour away by bus. His letter of apology must be lost in the post.

Touching tale from Kindertransport peer Alf Dubs at a humanist remembrance concert. His father, forced to fight for the Germans in the First World War, lifted a ban on his son playing with toy soldiers when the pair were reunited in London after both escaping the Nazis. Unlike the First, the Second was unavoidable with Hitler on the rampage.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. Your new guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture each weekend - from the New Statesman. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • 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.

Labour’s shifting alliances see the “Big Four” trade unions Unite, Unison, GMB and CWU now regularly meeting as a “Big Five” with Usdaw to co-ordinate positions and oppose Momentum. The unopposed election of Northern Irishman Paddy Lillis as general secretary moved the shopworkers’ union from the right to the left of the political street. Militant moderates aren’t running so much as a whelk stall. l

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

This article appears in the 14 Nov 2018 issue of the New Statesman, How the Brexiteers broke history