Commons Confidential: Michael Gove’s sweatless scampers

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Tory dirty tricks are gathering pace when Jeremy Hunt’s campaign is claiming Michael Gove is unfit to be prime minister. The weedy Environment Secretary, one of the early front-runners, is accused of only pretending to jog for the cameras when he scuttles out of his £2m west London home in old gym kit. My snout on the Hunt team said the unsporty No 10 wannabe darts around the corner into a nearby park. There he sits on a bench making calls on his mobile for half an hour before bounding back for the benefit of photographers still on the doorstep. Pictures do show Gove usually carries a phone on his scampers and I’m informed he’s remarkably fresh when returning. Is Gove’s a spin around the block too far?

Bullingdon Boys are notorious for putting club before country, and prominent Tories are whispering how David Cameron is toying with endorsing worst best friend Boris Johnson for No 10. Any reconciliation would be the most significant since Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, seeing that the blond ego’s Brexit career move ultimately cost Dodgy Dave his premiership. The support would broaden Johnson’s appeal and speculation is fuelled by the fact that Cameron’s tennis partner and oldest political sidekick – Tory peer and former party chair Andrew Feldman – is covertly promoting the incompetent former foreign secretary. If Johnson enters No 10 the Buller could always trash a restaurant in honour of another hooray hooligan reaching the top.

Already back together are John Bercow and Chris Bryant. The schoolmasterly Commons Speaker and his eager potential successor are pals reunited since Bercow privately admitted he was a little grumpy when tearing a strip off Labour’s Bryant for challenging the chair some moons ago. The Speaker also said Swansea-born Home Counties Tory MP Julian Lewis had corrected him that Bryant’s Rhondda constituency is pronounced Ron-tha not Ron-da. Every Speaker must live in fear of the Electoral Commission calling a Welsh constituency Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysilio-gogogoch.

Protesting against Donald Trump provided a rare moment of unity for splintering Labour. Gordon Brown invited Tom Watson to introduce his coruscating deconstruction of Brexit right-whinger Nigel Farage’s plastic patriotism during the Peterborough by-election until Jeremy Corbyn’s praetorian guard vetoed the deputy leader’s starring role. Unity and solidarity remain slogans in a factional party.

Much chatter over Farage looking suspiciously younger, with fresh gnashers. It wouldn’t be the first time he was called two-faced.

Kevin Maguire is the associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror

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 07 June 2019 issue of the New Statesman, The Trump alliance