Veteran ex-Labour MP Frank Field will fight the next election as an Independent, ANDREW PIERCE reveals
- Frank Field, 76, is set to run as an Independent candidate in the next election
- He said: ‘I have decided to fight the seat at the next election against Labour’
- Left-wing agitators in his Birkenhead constituency last year passed a vote of no confidence in him for siding with the Government in key Brexit votes
Frank Field, 76, will — after much agonising — run as an Independent in the next election
He is one of the Commons’ most venerable and venerated figures, and today I can reveal that Frank Field will — after much agonising — run as an Independent in the next election.
Field, 76, who is acknowledged on both sides of the House as a fair-minded and dogged campaigner on social issues such as low pay, tells me: ‘I have decided to fight the seat at the next election against the Labour candidate. I’m sorry it’s come to this.’
Left-wing agitators in his Birkenhead constituency last year passed a vote of no confidence in him for siding with the Government in key Brexit votes. After he resigned the whip, Labour’s National Executive Committee rescinded his party membership.
It was shabby treatment for a man who had served as an MP with distinction for nearly 40 years — from long before many of his Corbynista critics were born. Meanwhile, attempts to find his replacement have descended into farce. A recent meeting at Birkenhead Town Hall to select a candidate had to be abandoned after a council employee forgot the keys.
An alternative venue was swiftly arranged — but on arrival the organisers realised that the ‘mission statements’ from their aspiring candidates were still locked in the town hall.
Field, who commands a majority of 26,000, says: ‘It seems chaos isn’t confined to Brexit.’
At least one Tory MP can testify to the positive benefits of Brexit. Huw Merriman, Chancellor Philip Hammond’s parliamentary bag carrier, says the stress has seen his weight plummet. ‘I’ve gone from over a 34in to almost under 30in waist now,’ he says smugly. Who knew haranguing from the backbenches could burn so many calories?
When Sir Nicholas Soames speaks, the nation should listen
Is Soames going on a Tiger Roll?
When Sir Nicholas Soames speaks, the nation should listen — just as we did to his grandfather Sir Winston Churchill.
Last week, Sir Nicholas shared his tip for the Grand National with fellow MPs. ‘In the spirit of bringing the whole House together, I thought it would be helpful if I let the House know that the [race] will be won by a horse called Tiger Roll,’ he predicted — accurately.
Has he got a date for our departure from the EU?
Asked how he switches off from Brexit, the Lib Dem Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael says: ‘I have a bottle of Highland Park that should help to numb the pain [but] I fear that one bottle may not be enough . . .’
What to make of Green Party co-leader Sian Berry getting a mention on the BBC’s Pointless gameshow last week?
Asked to ‘name famous Berrys’ and shown a picture of Ms Berry, not a single contestant had a clue to who she might be. One might ask the Greens, what then is the point of her?
When New Labour’s spin doctor, Alastair Campbell, interviewed Countdown presenter Rachel Riley for GQ magazine, he asked her to make the longest word she could with the letters ‘Jeremy Corbyn’.
Riley, targeted by Corbynistas after she criticised Labour anti-Semitism, said: ceremony and cremorne.
When Campbell pointed out ‘cremorne’ is 19th-century slang for the male appendage, Riley replied: ‘Perfect.’
Overheard in a Commons bar: ‘For the first time, we’ll probably see the end of May before the end of April.’
Top Tory boosts his war chest
When, in 2014, long-standing Tory donor Lubov Chernukhin, whose husband was once Vladimir Putin’s deputy finance minister, paid £160,000 at a fundraising auction just to play tennis with Boris Johnson, questions were raised over the Kremlin’s links to the Conservative Party.
So I bring news that, with a possible early election on the cards, Chernukhin has now donated £9,500 to the war chest of Tory chairman Brandon Lewis.
He needs the cash. Insurance tycoon Arron Banks, the founder of Leave.EU, is standing against Lewis at the next election. He’s targeting Lewis because the latter supported Remain while his Great Yarmouth constituents voted by 71.5 per cent to Leave.
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