Boris Johnson’s inner circle fear that Benedict Cumberbatch has gone to Dominic Cummings’s head and the crazed assassin’s inflated deceit would disrupt a complex general election. One No 10 staffer blamed setting the police on Sajid Javid’s adviser Sonia Khan – described as a fratricidal act when she’s a true Brextremist from the TaxPayers’ Alliance – on an increasingly Deranged Dom believing “his own propaganda” since TV fame visited. And the usually monotone Philip Hammond, going nuclear, triggered mutterings about how to deactivate an increasingly radioactive henchman.
Jeremy Corbyn, attaching T&Cs to past calls for an immediate election in all circumstances, was ridiculed by Labour MPs as evidence that their leader doesn’t work through consequences. Self-styled bureaucrat John McDonnell, a shadow chancellor who thinks four dimensionally, will play a more central role in 2019’s campaign than 2017.
Bumping into Ken Clarke, he snorted that Johnson’s Brextremist mob are “not Conservatives” and could never have served with him in the Tory governments of Heath, Thatcher, Major or even Cameron. The Tory MP’s retirement in Rushcliffe after 49 years creates a mini constitutional crisis. Dennis Skinner, also first elected in 1970 but restanding in Bolsover, is next in line for the Father of the House position. The Beast’s not for taming, and will refuse the Buggins’ turn honorific title.
No politician earns as much from Brexit as high-roller Nigel Farage, paying himself £27,000 monthly from Thorn in the Side Ltd – his company amassing nice little earners from Fox News and LBC, among others. The riches dwarf the £5,900 a month, after tax, of an MEP fully appreciating the financial value of remaining in the public eye, if not the EU. The Brexit Party proprietor is followed at the mo by a fly-on-the-wall TV crew filming Nigel: The Movie. Imagine a cross between Dad’s Army and The Thick of It.
Johnson’s dumped leadership rival, Jeremy Hunt, was using his redundancy as a career development opportunity by writing a book on China. Rare unsigned copies should be available of a tome likely to be helpful in securing profitable trade consultancies. Let’s hope the former foreign secretary doesn’t confuse the people’s republic with Japan.
Ruth Davidson might take Scotland’s 13 Conservative MPs and the union with her – the effervescent Tartan Tory is considerably more popular than her party. Once encountering a Labour activist wearing a “Never kissed a Tory” sticker, she planted a smacker on his lips. “You have now,” she chortled, impishly peeling off his badge.
Kevin Maguire is the associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror