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21 July 2021

Commons Confidential: The Jenrick Test

Your weekly dose of gossip from around Westminster.  

By Kevin Maguire

What a coincidence that Taylor Swift obsessive and Tory MP Dehenna Davison was a £900 guest of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) at the Brit Awards, and that her name later appeared on a piece in Square Mile free-sheet City AM defending the major record companies’ riches. My snout whispers that a similar commentary was touted by BPI flunkeys to at least two other parliamentarians in a bid to pre-empt a hard-hitting report from the Culture Select Committee that is demanding a greater share of streaming revenues for musicians and songwriters, and an inquiry into the hold giant corporations have on the industry. Davison’s article surprised the other 43 Tory MPs who, along with the Bishop Auckland warbler, signed a private letter to Boris Johnson demanding a crackdown on the major labels to help struggling artists.


Conservative MPs are to adopt “the Jenrick Test” after the hapless Housing Secretary defended Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak’s plan to skip self-isolation during an appearance on the Andrew Marr Show, only for the pair to U-turn within the hour. In future, whenever a cabinet robot is deployed to defend the indefensible, the Jenrick Test will be applied. Colleagues will know whether a Downing Street climbdown is imminent.


Tory right-winger Andrew Rosindell was shown a red card after unwisely ordering Tyrone Mings to “focus on football, not politics”. The England player accused the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, of stoking racism by condemning taking the knee as “gesture politics”. Rosindell, who’d previously applauded former England player Sol Campbell’s support for Brexit, was collared by teammate Douglas Ross, a Tory MP and MSP, and a qualified top-level referee who regularly runs the line in games. Ross asked Rosindell where separating politics and football left him as the leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

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Unable to name any “loony-left” Labour councils to fight since none exist, Boris Johnson’s enthusiasm for only establishing mayorships in areas where he calculates the Conservatives would win carries a hint of gerrymandering. The East Midlands is one such region. If, as rumoured, Mansfield Tory MP and Nottinghamshire council leader Ben Bradley fancies the post, a by-election might be due in a seat that Labour held until the Cons took it by just 1,057 votes in 2017 (their majority is now 16,306).


A Speaker’s reception and a farewell bash for the London Evening Standard’s veteran political editor Joe Murphy and the i newspaper’s Nigel Morris were cancelled after a Covid outbreak in the Westminster lobby. One stricken hack self-diagnosed the “Wembley variant” after his trip to the Euros final.

[See also: Why the UK’s new Covid-19 strategy is uniquely dangerous]

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This article appears in the 21 Jul 2021 issue of the New Statesman, The Chinese century