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30 November 2017

Commons Confidential: Is Nick Timothy plotting a political comeback?

Your weekly dose of gossip from around Westminster.

By Kevin Maguire

Theresa May, a struggling British Tsarina unable to rule without her Rasputin, has resumed regular direct contact with Nick Timothy. The Remainer Prime Minister, piloting the country out of the European Union despite her serious misgivings, is, I’m informed by a well-placed snout, seeking his guidance over the telephone on how to handle Britain’s divorce from 27 family members. The renewed relationship is handy for a former chief of staff plotting a political comeback. Tory Tim, blocked by CCHQ from chucking his hat in the ring for true blue Aldridge-Brownhills two contests ago, yearns to be an MP, I’m told. Grateful May, expected to abandon parliament at the election after her Downing Street departure, could always show him around Maidenhead.

And what of Tory Tim’s co-chief, the reviled Fiona Hill? Politics abandoned her and she’s abandoned politics. The snout revealed she swats away questions about her years as May’s enforcer with “I’m no longer in that world” and a dismissive wave of the hand. Dressing her boss in £995 leather trousers for a photo shoot wasn’t Hill’s finest moment when the PM was capping nurses’ pay, but Fashionista Fiona is tipped for a future in the world of haute couture. All glitz, no austerity.

Bumping into a good friend of one of David Cameron’s confidants, I learned that the worst prime minister since Neville Chamberlain, eternal ignominy guaranteed by losing the keys to No 10 and Europe on a tactical gamble, texted “Fuck” when asked for his reaction to May succeeding him as PM. Tedious Theresa shouldn’t worry. A follow-up inquiry into how he’d have felt if it was Boris Johnson elicited a “Fuckity Fuck” back.

Having reported alongside Laura Kuenssberg for years, I’ve no fixed idea of her personal views. But abusive stalkers screaming that the BBC’s political editor is a Tory will self-combust at this: her businessman father, Nick, is, according to my Scottish snout, a former donor to the Labour Party. Hounded Kuenssberg is her own woman. The info, however, leaves leftists in the lynch mob sounding dafter than ever.

John McDonnell’s answer to Tony Blair’s prawn cocktail offensive is the digestive dunk. City institutions worry that the Marxist is taking the biscuit when he insists that’s all he wants with his tea on breakfast visits to mammon’s citadels.

Trusties on parliament’s reconstituted intelligence and security committee are distinctly unimpressed by files marked “Top Secret” supplied by spooks. “You can read a lot on this stuff on Google,” grumbled a member. Perhaps that’s where MI6 found it.

This article appears in the 29 Nov 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The most powerful man in the world