Overheard in Westminster – The week’s best political gossip

Corbyn prepares for the London Mayoralty

Following Sir Keir’s move to block him standing as a Labour candidate next year, one of the biggest questions in Westminster remains ‘what is Jeremy Corbyn going to do next?’

From standing as an independent candidate in Islington North to early retirement, the world is his oyster.

One of the most obvious options is running a Ken Livingstone-style insurgency campaign against Sadiq Khan for London Mayor.

Plenty of outlets have already run this rumour, so Beachcomber’s revealing nothing new here. What is new, however, is that Mr Corbyn’s already featuring in City Hall literature.

A keen-eyed co-conspirator has spotted Mr Corbyn in a new Cargo Bike Action Plan, published by none other than Sadiq Khan.

Sadiq and Corbyn: working in tandem to discredit the Labour Party…

All change at Remainers’ Bible

Remainer paper The New European is the news provider of choice for those who find the Guardian just a bit too sympathetic to Nigel Farage. This week they announced their new editor-at-large: Matthew d’Ancona.

Matthew may have to work hard to prove his credentials among the revolutionary Home County, Waitrose-shopping radicals who read the paper.

His career so far has hardly been in keeping with the politics of his new readers: He’s put in senior shifts at the Sunday Telegraph and even succeeded Boris Johnson as editor of the Spectator in 2009.

In 2008, Matthew d’Ancona wrote the splash to the magazine’s endorsement of Boris Johnson, in which he confessed “Boris is my friend and distinguished predecessor in the editor’s chair”.

“Imagine London as a Tory stronghold against the Gordon Empire, with Boris as our clean-shaven Asterix.”

“Should he win? Yes, he really should. He has passed every test set for him by the naysayers, and emerged from the crucible with a very different public image.”

Something tells Beachcomber his new front page splashes may differ somewhat to those he published in a previous life…

Britain’s ‘Mr Benn’ councillor

Ahead of the local elections, party council candidates are hitting the headlines – for all the wrong reasons.

The Tories suspended a candidate in Bolton who after the Manchester bombing took to Facebook to comment “Shoot the P***s on the spot.”; they also picked an ex-Britain First member in Bracknell; Labour has suspended a candidate for stealing his opponent’s leaflets out of a resident’s letterbox; the Lib Dems selected a candidate in Redcar who posted on Facebook “i reallly reallly want to kill something”.

It seems intent that one hard-working local election candidate is keen to cause controversy across half of the UK, however.

Chris Twells is standing for the Liberal Democrats in the Cotswolds Tetbury ward, where he lives.

This will come as a surprise to his current constituents in Salford, where he won by 90 votes last year when claiming to the “local candidate”.

It will also come as a surprise to the residents of Flintshire, Wales, who had the opportunity to vote for Mr Twells in 2021 – when he told the Daily Post “I am very proud to be standing for the Senedd in my home county”.

To be fair to Christopher Twells, the nomination papers for Flintshire show he lived in the constituency at the time of the election.

Maybe that’s why the Lib Dems oppose new house building – Chris Twells personally owns half the UK stock…

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Operation Marquee still creating headache for Parliament

The massive operation by Parliament to allow 250,000 members of the public to walk past the Queen lying in state last year was an immense effort by all involved.

It must have been pretty expensive, though unfortunately we’re yet to hear how much was paid for Operation Marquee. It now transpires there’s one final cost for Parliament.

Any regular in the Palace of Westminster will know there’s a private entrance and exit for pass holders directly from the tube station, an entrance that is closed at night time.

Anyone working late knows there used to be signs in the cloisters to inform staff when the route is no longer open, however the signs disappeared months ago, causing a relentless minor inconvenience for all involved.

A police officer told Beachcomber this week that the signs were moved for Operation Marquee and now no one can find them again…You’d think someone could laminate an A4 sign…

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