View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. UK Politics
6 October 2021

Commons Confidential: Dominic Raab’s loose lips

Your dose of gossip from the Conservative conference.

By Kevin Maguire

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab isn’t enjoying demotion from the Foreign Office. Striding into a Midland Hotel lift, a devalued politician whose Deputy PM title is a consolation prize, was overheard groaning, “I fucking hate conference” before the doors closed to winch Mr Grumpy to his room. Back in 2008, wannabe Labour leader David Miliband spoke in one of the hotel’s lifts about a “Heseltine moment” to topple Gordon Brown without recognising BBC Scotland’s politics correspondent lurking quietly in the corner. Manchester lifts have ears, whether the doors are ajar or shut.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy “King in the North” Burnham wasn’t the only Labour figure with the “Tory scum”. Whispering Labour backbencher Barry Gardiner toured the Conservatives’ conference, button-holing potential supporters for his private members’ bill outlawing fire-and-rehire. Conservative MP for the 18th century and Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg invited the quietly spoken Corbyn-era shadow cabinet member to lunch at his Somerset stately pile to discuss employers sacking staff then re-engaging them on lower pay. I do hope nanny’s safe.

Barrelling through the exhibition area, Boris Johnson was overheard hailing former Brexit secretary David Davis. “David, what are you up to?” trilled the PM. “Causing trouble,” laughed Davis. “You keep making trouble, baby. What are you causing trouble about?” “National Insurance, tax rises, your Covid controls…” Before Davis could complete his list, Johnson accelerated away. If you don’t know the answer, never pose the question is a basic rule of politics.

After Iain Duncan Smith was hit with a traffic cone outside the Conservative conference zone, Philip Hammond may feel he escaped lightly. Remarkably, a former chancellor with the appearance of a provincial undertaker was recognised on the street by two aggressive young blokes in hooded black tops. As they shouted insults, Hammond kept walking with a nervous fixed grin. “Was it shit when Boris f***ed you off, mate?” screamed one of the pursuers. My snout saw the shouty tormentor immediately trip and fall flat on his face, and Hammond made good his escape while the other stopped to help his mate up. The chaos symbolised the economy when Funereal Phil was in the Treasury.

Select and enter your email address 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 morningcall.substack.com 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 saturdayread.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • 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 New Statesman Media Group 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.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
Where do we get the money to fix the world's biggest problems? – with ONE
Labour's health reforms can put patients first
Data science can help developers design future-proof infrastructure

Select and enter your email address 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 morningcall.substack.com 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 saturdayread.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • 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 New Statesman Media Group 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.
THANK YOU