Muffled alarm bells are ringing at Pestminster after a female Labour MP named 31 male members of the House of Commons on a list of shame. The roster was posted on a WhatsApp group centred on the 2019 intake before cooler heads suggested it was unwise and the poster pressed delete. Screenshots survive and are circulating.
One female shadow minister described the list – which includes 26 Conservative, four Labour and one SNP MP – as a legal time bomb. Some of the 31 have been publicly accused of predatory behaviour, others are rumoured to be unsavoury, and a few might call lawyers if they learned of their inclusion. Detonation could claim many victims, the poster included.
Rhondda rumbler Chris Bryant going nowhere is bad news for footloose colleague Beth Winter. Bryant, the chair of the Commons Standards Committee, was briefly linked with a back-to-the-future return to Oxford University as rector of Exeter College, but is staying put. Who knows, the ex-minister might be handed a red box if – or, given the polls, perhaps we could chance when – Keir Starmer finds himself in No 10.
Bryant standing a seventh time in Rhondda is a blow for Socialist Campaign Grouper Winter, who is looking for a new South Wales valley seat after losing out to royal superfan Gerald Jones (he twice slept overnight on the Mall for monarchical events) for redrawn Merthyr Tydfil and Upper Cynon.
The dwindling pack of Johnsonsite hounds threatening to deselect Tories who voted to condemn Boris the liar jogged the memory of ex-Lib Dem MP Nick Harvey. He recalled how in 1974 his colleague Paul Tyler, now a peer, complained to the Commons speaker that his old union, the NUJ, was unfairly pressuring him to vote for pro-union legislation. Selwyn Lloyd in the big chair sent for the NUJ general secretary and president to threaten them with a spell in the Tower of London. The union officers, says Harvey, were summoned to the Commons bar and caved in to avoid a public spectacle. Relocating Boris blowhards to the medieval fortress appeals to Rishi Sunak loyalists. Entry is through Traitors’ Gate.
Having bought a house in Hartlepool, where he is plotting to unseat Tory by-election snatcher Jill Mortimer and deny Labour hopeful Jonathan Brash, the Reform UK party head Richard Tice has turned his premises into a giant billboard. The unshy property tycoon has plastered his name all over the home-cum-office on a busy roundabout. Chewing into Rishi Sunak’s national vote, Tice rules out a repeat of 2019 when Reform – née the Brexit Party – stood down its candidates for Conservative-held seats. It received nothing in return. Once bitten, twice shy.
This article appears in the 28 Jun 2023 issue of the New Statesman, The war comes to Russia