Steerpike

Raab’s £367-a-day race to save his seat

Raab's £367-a-day race to save his seat
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Poor Dom Raab. First he lost the Foreign Office and now he has to share his house with Liz Truss – the woman who replaced him in last month's reshuffle. The demoted minister has had a torrid few months, with the fall of Kabul, his Whitehall office briefing against him and then an enforced move to the Ministry of Justice with the consolation prize of 'Deputy Prime Minister' – a title which now irritates him so much that he snaps at anyone who uses it to address him. 

Still, a loss of office isn't the only thing on Raab's mind in recent months. Ever since the shock Chesham and Amersham by-election result in June, Raab and other Tories in previously safe seats have nervously been eyeing up the threat of a Liberal Democrat resurgence. Raab's majority in the 'blue wall' seat collapsed at the last election from 23,298 in 2017 to just 2,743 in 2019, with local Lib Dems hoping that his Esher and Walton constituency will be ripe for a 'Portillo moment' in 2023.

Outwardly, Raab remains defiant, telling a panel at the Conservative party conference last week that: 'I will never move to another seat' and 'I am confident we will win Esher and Walton’ next time around. But as the Daily Mirror noted, local Tories in the Justice Secretary's association have taken steps to hire a full time campaign staff member in Raab's constituency office with a remit to recruit volunteers and coordinate a 'comprehensive fundraising programme.' For their autumn lunch they have also drafted in fellow MP Geoffrey Cox, 'a most charismatic speaker full of gusto and drama' to help their MP's re-election coffers.

And it seems that Raab himself has been undertaking his own fundraising efforts, judging by his declarations in the most recent register of members' interests. Some £40,000 has been donated to him since the Chesham and Amersham Tory loss sent shockwaves through his Surrey constituency – the equivalent of £367 a day between polling day on 16 June and the publication of the register on 4 October.

Steerpike suspects we will see Raab spending more time in Esher in Surrey than at Chevening in Kent ahead of the next election.

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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