Rishi Sunak’s mini reshuffle a fortnight ago has only further sent ministerial tongues wagging about who may be up or down when the PM gets around to what is expected to be a much more comprehensive cabinet switch up later this year.
Suella Braverman’s future is the undoubtedly the most commented on, both in the media, Westminster and among her fellow ministers.
Speaking at a gathering of religious leaders recently, one senior minister found himself joking about the Home Secretary, asking four archbishops what the collective noun for their ecclesiastical job was.
Given the recent rows between the Government and the church over the small boats crisis, they didn’t look amused when the minister answered their own question with ‘the Suella Braverman fan club?’
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With Boris Johnson once again flying off to Ukraine this week to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Lviv as part of his ongoing revelry in his hero status over there, it’s always worth imagining just how differently things could have been had Mr Corbyn won the 2019 General Election.
On the same day Mr Johnson was being greeted by the mayor of Lviv as “great friend of Ukraine”, Mr Corbyn was snapped meeting with American activist Medea Benjamin, posing with her new book “War in Ukraine”.
While Sir Arbuthnot was previously unfamiliar with the work of Medea, she has previously called for the end to arming Ukraine, saying those who support sending the country weapons “should stop calling themselves ‘peace activists’”.
Ms Benjamin’s book thus far been described as “dishonest propaganda which is loaded with distortions and inaccuracies on virtually every page”.
Another reviewer describes Ms Benjamin as having “fallen from grace into a maelstrom of disinformation, misinformation and rank propaganda on behalf of the worst actors on the international stage”.
No doubt Mr Corbyn was in fact present but not involved with her publication promotion…
On Monday, the usually mild-mannered and docile Chancellor Jeremy Hunt discovered his mojo following a fairly dishonest attack from the Labour Party over what they described as new Tory tax policy.
They claimed that the Tories had “let slip their secret plan to raid wages for £50 billion in taxes”.
The claim was made off the back of an op-ed in the FT by Sushil Wadhwani, a member of the Treasury’s independent Economic Advisory Council.
Despite the piece making clear that Mr Wadhwani was writing “in a personal capacity”, it didn’t stop Labour implying the views were impending Tory policy.
There was one major hiccup with Labour’s attack, however. Keen economists will know Mr Wadhwani has few links with any political party – bar one.
In 1999 he was appointed to the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee by the then chancellor… Gordon Brown.
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Rishi Sunak’s thus far ignored criticism about his gratuitous use of private jets and helicopters, which as far as Sir Arbuthnot’s concerned is a rare example of him ignoring media pressure and doing what he believes to be the right thing.
However it seems a different narrative involving Mr Sunak and air travel is beginning to circulate in SW1.
According to one report from the recent outbound trip to the G20 in India, Mr Sunak’s meeting with journalists on the plane experienced some pretty rocky turbulence.
“The plane was 35,000ft over the Atlantic when Rishi Sunak finally snapped… Sunak’s frustration had been building for months. Behind the scenes he railed to friends and colleagues about journalists talking down Britain… nobody on that trip to Washington in June had ever seen him quite like this before”.
Amid reports of the PM becoming “increasingly testy and bad tempered”, Beachcomber hears another comment made by Mr Sunak after pulling the curtain back and seeing such a large throng of hacks.
“We’re going to need a smaller plane next time”.
Perhaps the lobby will need to make their own transport arrangements for the next foreign trip with the PM…
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