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Anneliese Dodds’ long shadow in the cabinet

Your weekly dose of gossip from the Commons.

By Kevin Maguire

Spare a thought for Anneliese Dodds, the kid who wasn’t invited to a class party but turned up anyway. Labour’s chair went excitedly to Downing Street with shadow cabinet members expecting to walk smiling into the real thing on the afternoon after the triumphant night before. Flustered at the gates not to be on the list, Dodds was directed to No 10. She went into the cabinet room with luckier colleagues before leaving crestfallen. Dodds wasn’t told in advance she hadn’t made Keir Starmer’s cut. The freshly installed PM gave her job to Ellie Reeves. Two days after that, Dodds was announced as development and women’s minister, with a consolation prize of attending, rather than being in, the cabinet to spare her blushes.

Tory leadership wannabe Tom Tugendhat’s birthday bash after Starmergeddon was likened to the band playing on as the Titanic went down. Shell-shocked living dead were everywhere. Damian Green was spotted pushing worldly possessions in a trolley, Nigel Evans hugging goodbyes and Tobias Ellwood boxing books. Caroline Nokes received commiserations from Tory peer Ed Vaizey before indignantly informing Lord Hazy she’d retained her Hampshire seat. What she won’t be keeping is the women and equalities committee chair. Newly ermined Harriet Harman informed Nokes that Labour will take back control.

Evicted Tories decamped to the vacated leader of the opposition’s suite in Norman Shaw South when Labour moved into No 10. Fancying a brew, they found only “Join a union” cups in the cupboard, left by Starmer’s mob. Top trolling.

Enjoying the last laugh is Lindsay Hoyle. Of 95 MPs who signed a no-confidence motion in the Speaker over Gaza votes, just 11 made it back to the Commons. The 335 new MPs will cross the chair at their peril. Jonathan Gullis, a regular target of Hoyle’s reprimands, must be unable to open a newspaper or switch on the TV.

Sunk in Stoke, Tory deputy chair Gullis reacted badly. The avocado-hating Tory right-whinger unfollowed No 10 on X/Twitter because he couldn’t stand reading about Starmer rather than Sunak.

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Reservoir Dregs’ Lee Anderson is Reform’s chief whip. Double defector, serially disloyal, ill-disciplined, intimidated by laughter and mocked as a softie by Farage – what could possibly go wrong?

Sent to the back of the queue with a flea in his ear was the newbie asking to be sworn in early alongside the PM because they’d booked a holiday before unexpectedly winning. Shy bairns get no sweets but MPs who prosper learn to walk before trying to sprint to the front.

[See more: Sunak’s honours list faces a Starmer peer review]

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This article appears in the 10 Jul 2024 issue of the New Statesman, All Change