Commons Confidential: How Amber’s voyage to No 10 turned rudderless

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Best laid plans and all that went catastrophically wrong for silver spoon Amber Rudd. Until her humiliating resignation as home secretary, the privately declared target of the former director of companies in the Bahamas tax haven, and purveyor of posh extras to Four Weddings and a Funeral, was No 10. Tories whispered that Rudd didn’t disguise her ambitions despite a vulnerable 346 majority in Hastings and Rye. Winning the leadership, she calculated, would generate a personal electoral bounce. Not any more.

The Lib Dems are a niche political market but buy shares in newbie Layla Moran, the first MP of Palestinian heritage. Moran, jeered by vengeful Tory boot boys after ousting health minister Nicola Blackwood in Oxford West and Abingdon, is gathering support. I’m told the party’s highly regarded former spinners Jasper Gerard, Paul Butters and Paul Haydon recently advised earnest Moran on how to boost her image. Watch out, Vince!

How times change when Michael Gove teases Tory Old Etonian Geoffrey Clifton-Brown for uttering a few words in Latin. The cabinet swot was all for the dead language while a deeply unpopular educashon secretary, so his sly dig at the expense of his classics-quoting Cotswolds colleague was a turn-up for the textbooks at a right-whingers’ dinner. Perhaps it’s another sign of Gove’s estrangement from swank fellow Brextremist Boris Johnson, who tries to impress the untutored with a few words of Latin and Greek. Those who don’t understand what Johnson’s saying believe he makes more sense than when using English.

In an attempt to improve notoriously fractious relations with revolting MPs, Jeremy Corbyn’s latest tactic is to deploy Flattery – Christopher Flattery, his acting Parliamentary Labour Party liaison officer. Also included on a 38-strong list of nomenklatura in the leader of the opposition’s office, circulated to MPs, is a videographer, in a nod to the importance of home movies on the web. The big surprise is there’s no head of selfies when Comrade Corbyn must be the most-snapped politician.

Tribune, organ of Nye Bevan and Michael Foot, is to relaunch in September at the Labour conference after escaping the unhappy clutches of Owen Oyston. The fortnightly, forced to suspend publication earlier this year, will be revived by US socialist Bhaskar Sunkara, who owns the New York-based, radical Jacobin magazine. Hatred of Donald Trump is uniting the left across the Atlantic.

Tory Remainers who abhor monocled Brextremist bore Jacob Rees-Smug call him Moggadon: a short-term dose risks long-term economic depression. 

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article appears in the 04 May 2018 issue of the New Statesman, What Marx got right

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