Support 110 years of independent journalism.

Nadine Dorries’ “Plot” to hijack the Tory party conference

Your weekly dose of gossip from around Westminster.

By Kevin Maguire

He couldn’t get her to go, now Rishi Sunak can’t shake off Nadine Dorries. The Prime Minister’s would-be assassin, accused of rarely visiting Mid Beds or speaking in parliament, is to stalk her victim in Manchester at his first – and last? – Conservative conference as party leader. Hit woman Nad will be in town to promote a vengeful book serialised in a Tory rag on the eve of the gathering, and to join other plotters at a machine-gunning Conservative Democratic Organisation dinner. Labour spinners can’t believe their luck.

Foundering stop-the-boater Suella Braverman, a Home Secretary who spent the summer trying to put deeper clear blue water between herself and Labour, is the partisan’s partisan. One of 850 guests at a dinner hosted by the Community Security Trust, a Jewish charity, at the Grosvenor Hotel recalled that “Leaky Sue” was the only person present who sat on her hands when Keir Starmer vowed to continue fighting anti-Semitism if Labour won power. “Well,” Braverman was overheard explaining, “I’m not clapping Labour being in government.” Particularly when you also want Sunak’s keys to No 10, I suppose.

[See also: Keir Starmer’s reshuffle was politically ruthless]

On a flight to Edinburgh (don’t tell the Scottish Greens) the pilot introduced himself to Gordon Brown as a former student of the Labour peer Stewart Wood, onetime Oxford tutor and Downing Street adviser during Irn Broon’s premiership. “I’m glad,” grinned the the ex-PM, “Stewart didn’t teach you how to fly.” Presbyterian wit like that deserves a one-man show at next year’s festival.

Brown protégé Douglas Alexander, who is planning a Westminster return by retaking East Lothian from the SNP, has irritated the SW1 sisterhood. Wee Dougie’s crime was to overlook Labour’s Selby by-election mastermind, Judith Cummins, in a photo from Rutherglen – the South Lanarkshire seat up for grabs following the recall of its MP, Margaret Ferrier – on the site formerly known as Twitter. The caption hailed candidate Michael Shanks and GMB union leader Gary Smith but not the Bradford South MP standing next to him, one of only two women in the blokey group. Alexander may discover female MPs regard a slight to one as a slight to all.

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.

Still licking his wounds after Labour crashed in the west London parliamentary contest he drove, the shadow justice secretary Steve Reed will wince at the dark humour of colleagues, their definition of Ulez being “Uxbridge loser election zone”.

Westminster wit Kevin Brennan is pulling Northern Irish unionist MPs’ legs. The Cardiff West Labour MP asked if they’re worried that Just Stop Oil is giving the colour orange a bad name.

[See also: Caught red handed]

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action

This article appears in the 30 Aug 2023 issue of the New Statesman, The Great Tax Con