Steerpike

Fox reds are top dogs for true blues

Fox reds are top dogs for true blues
Rishi Sunak
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Dilyn may be top dog in Number 10 but these days there's only breed of choice for the aspiring Tory: a fox red Labrador. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is photographed in today's newspapers clutching his new eight week old puppy Nova. And while his next door neighbour Boris Johnson has an (appropriately) badly-behaved, chaotic and randy Jack Russell rescue mutt, his photogenic Treasury minister prefers a sleek, pedigree type of labrador which has become increasingly popular in recent years.

Sunak's daughters are cited as the reason for the new arrival, with a Number 11 source quoted in the Sun as saying 'Rishi was fighting it but finally gave in, and the whole building is cooing over him.' The pup is said to enjoy roast chicken and napping in the Chancellor's famous red Budget box – something Gladstone surely never had to worry about. Mr S hopes that Nova is more able to resist Dilyn's advances than his unfortunate predecessor Bailey the cavapoo bitch, owned by the newly resurrected Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

Sunak's choice of dog reflects a growing preference for the breed across the country, with Country Life declaring in 2019 'Why red is the new black' after years of black and cream Labradors being traditionally preferred. And that trend towards the lither fox reds is reflected in the Tory parliamentary party: Guy Opperman started the trend with Zola while Paul Scully has Freddie, Mark Harper has Chase and Marcus Fysh boasts Aster.

But for Westminster watchers it will not go unnoticed that the other big beast to boast a fox red is none other than the 'ultimutt' politician George Osborne, who somehow finds time away from his nine jobs to post wholesome images of walks with his pooch. The later has confessed to being a fan of Sunak, who was a mere backbencher when Osborne left Parliament in 2017, telling a think tank event in March 'he's doing a pretty good job in difficult circumstances.' And now it appears Sunak is happy to return the compliment with his choice of pup, following in the footsteps of the man once dubbed the 'iron chancellor'.

It appears for the ambitious fiscally-minded Tory rising star, there's only one choice of dog in town.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk

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