Steerpike

Liz parks her tanks on Chevening’s lawn

Liz parks her tanks on Chevening's lawn
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The biggest row in Westminster rumbles on. No, it's not Rishi against the spending ministers; nor Keir Starmer's uneasy truce with Angela Rayner. Like a Jane Austen novel, the question centres on a grand country house, where passions have been aroused by a question of succession. The issue is of course Chevening: the 115-room grace-and-favour residence traditionally been used as the Foreign Secretary's country house which the demoted Dominic Raab refuses to relinquish.

It's not been a happy month for Raab; shifted in the reshuffle to the Ministry of Justice, he is reported to have demanded the post of Deputy Prime Minister as a consolation prize – a title which apparently now irritates him so much that he snaps at anyone who addresses him that way. His efforts meanwhile to retain the use of Chevening have raised a fair few hackles in Westminster, given that his successor Liz Truss has had to host Foreign Office meetings at the residence since she inherited Raab's scheduled appointments last month.

One such meeting occurred today with the foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Twitter-savvy Truss tweeted a picture of the quartet wandering through the grounds of Chevening with the seventeenth century house posed conspicuously on the side of the frame. Steerpike understands that there was no overnight stay by Truss at the property – presumably to avoid any late night encounters with the Deputy Prime Minister any unwanted house guests. One Whitehall official told Mr S: 'The public – rightly – would take a dim view of debates over big houses. We're focused on getting on with the job.'

Mr S hopes Raab gives Truss his full support in doing just that.

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 or message @MrSteerpike

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