New Times,
New Thinking.

Shameless Tories scramble to join Johnson’s sinking ship

Your weekly dose of gossip from around Westminster.

By Kevin Maguire

Unbelievably there are still shameless Tory MPs who’d sell their souls to serve even a few days as ministers in the dying government of a lying Boris Johnson. In the Members’ Tea Room a lacklustre figure caught looking repeatedly at his phone in the hope of a Downing Street call was tongue-lashed by North Dorset Conservative rebel Simon Hoare. “Back in the day,” he sneered, “your type would’ve applied for a job as chief stoker on the Titanic after it hit the iceberg.” Torpedoed HMS Boris may sink before the fresh crew are fully aboard.

The downfall of Johnson in the wake of Chris Pincher’s drunken groping gave tractor-porn aficionado Neil Parish perhaps his final political ride in Westminster. Feeling hard done by, the farmer donned green corduroy trousers to condemn parliamentary sleaze in front of TV cameras in SW1. Devon was missing a pot calling the kettle black.

Tempers were fraying in the thirsty heat until time was called on parliamentary bar battles between MPs and peers. Spilled drinks and bruised egos will be saved by a truce negotiated between the Serjeant at Arms and Black Rod. The turf war over who could stand where on the terrace saw MPs who had been expelled from the Lords retaliate by refusing peers service in the Strangers’ Bar. “There’s a peace pact,” sniffed an ermined imbiber. “It’s just not been signed yet.” Trebles all round.

Guests invited to the Irish Embassy in London to watch Keir Starmer run up the white flag on Brexit heard barely coded criticism from Dublin’s ambassador, Adrian O’Neill, who hailed EU membership a huge success for his country. One-time arch Remainer Starmer stared blankly into the distance.

MPs dive into doorways or pretend to chat earnestly on mobiles when they spot Andrew Mitchell approaching. Word’s gone round that the former chief whip engages victims in seemingly innocent talk about his memoirs then sends them a dedicated signed copy. Apparently he’s managed to push it on “dozens of MPs in this way who are too polite to return it with a F-off note”, sneered my snout. The hard sell points to an opening in double-glazing warranties after politics.

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 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
  • 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 Progressive Media Investments 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.

Fretting Tories writhing over Johnson’s degradation of the party fear the great wrecker will also take down regional redoubts, particularly the West Midlands mayoralty. They’re worried that shoot-from-the-lip Brummie Jess Phillips may wish to be crowned Queen of the Midlands and topple two-term Tory Andy Street. The mayoralty’s up in May 2024 if the shadow domestic violence minister fancies a job nearer home.

[See also: Keir Starmer’s big gamble pays off as he avoids a Durham police fine]

Content from our partners
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors
How the apprenticeship levy helps small businesses to transform their workforce
How to reform the apprenticeship levy

Topics in this article : , ,