Alan duncan

Alan Duncan loses out (again)

To the Commons, where last night the cream of Westminster’s literary elite were sipping chablis and comparing book sales. Rising stars and old faces were among those turning out at the parliamentary book awards as Ed Balls, Mark Carney, Jess Phillips and Andrew Mitchell were among the political giants rubbing shoulders. The star of the night though was undoubtedly Sir Alan Duncan, back in parliament after two years away having, for some reason, not been given a peerage in the recent honours’ list. The former MP is now trying to do for Bloomsbury what he did for Westminster by applying his political talents to the written word, having penned a series of remarkably bitter diaries

Now even Sir Alan Duncan turns on Stonewall

Covid has meant it’s been a tough old year for the charity sector – but few have had it worse than Stonewall. Accused of misrepresenting the law, pilloried by its co-founder Matthew Parris and facing an exodus of Whitehall departments from its diversity scheme, the LGBT rights organisation has few allies left. Now even Sir Alan Duncan, the second-rate politician turned third-rate diarist, has turned his guns on the charity – despite being heralded on Stonewall’s website as the first openly gay Conservative MP. The ex-Rutland and Melton Tory, whose memoirs fired more shots at his colleagues than a Maxim gun, mounted a rare defence of the government’s decision to withdraw funding

Britain isn’t ready for the next wave of returning jihadis

Ever since British jihadists flocked to join Isis in Iraq and Syria, the government has attempted to keep the terrorists away by killing them on the battlefield and stripping the survivors of their citizenship. Those who have slipped through the net and made it back home have faced mandatory deradicalisation programs, or – in the most extreme cases – constant surveillance. But this costly, ineffective strategy has prioritised the rights and freedoms of returning jihadists over the safety of innocent people. And the approach is now likely to face another test, as the 425 or so Isis fighters and spouses who have returned are expected to be joined by their former twisted

Alan Duncan’s burn book of insults

Alan Duncan’s diaries are currently being serialised by the Daily Mail ahead of their release next Thursday. As a long-serving MP of 27 years who knew four successive Tory premiers, who lent Major his leadership headquarters, was part of May’s Oxford generation and worked alongside both Cameron and Johnson, surely such chronicles would be brimming with brio and insight? Unfortunately thus far revelations appear to have been fairly short on the ground, despite the Mail‘s best efforts to puff its ‘hilarious’ purchase as ‘one of the most explosive political diaries ever’ by claiming the cabinet had been ‘rocked’ by its contents. As of day three, the biggest bombshells have been that Duncan didn’t think

Alan Duncan’s resignation just adds to the chaos in the Foreign Office

Sir Alan Duncan’s resignation will only leave a hole in the Foreign Office for a couple of days before the new prime minister replaces him. But he’s not the only missing minister in that department: Mark Field is suspended while the incident at Mansion House is investigated. Duncan had been covering some of Field’s responsibilities over the past few weeks, and now he is off too, just as the crisis in relations with Iran deepens. Jeremy Hunt, meanwhile, has been busy conducting a leadership campaign, all of which gives the Foreign Office, normally the most composed and regal part of Whitehall, a slightly chaotic, neglected feel. This may change mid-week

Letters | 20 September 2018

Stand by your plan Sir: Matthew Parris (‘Must the will of the people always be respected?’, 15 September) asks when it is permissible to seek to overturn a referendum result. He missed a crucial point, which is that the answer depends on the locus of the individual considering the question. To my mind an ordinary citizen is always free to campaign to overturn the result. An MP, possibly, but not when elected on a manifesto to implement said result or who when campaigning in the referendum said they would abide by the result. Any member of a government who has promised to implement the result must clearly do just that.

Alan Duncan’s outrageous double standards

Boris Johnson appears to have perfected the art of triggering his Westminster colleagues. First with letterboxes, now suicide vests, the former Foreign Secretary has developed a particular knack for driving fellow Tory MPs round the bend with a simple turn of phrase. This latest round of ‘outrage’ has seen a number of Conservative MPs condemn Johnson over his decision to compare Theresa May’s Brexit negotiating position to wearing a suicide vest. Particularly scandalised by the incident was a junior minister at the Foreign Office, also known as The Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan. Sir Alan howled: ‘For Boris to say that the PM’s view is like that of a suicide

Alan Duncan’s Brexit tantrum

Alan Duncan caused a stir on Tuesday when he claimed that one of the reasons for the Brexit vote was working class voters throwing ‘a bit of a tantrum’ over immigration. It’s fair to say that the government minister’s comments have gone down like a cup of cold sick with Brexiteers. But is Duncan really one to lecture on Brexit tantrums? Mr S recalls that Duncan was accused of throwing a tantrum of his own during the EU referendum. After Duncan declared himself a Remain-er, Vote Leave’s Matthew Elliott said the Conservative MP had planned to back Brexit but switched to the other side at the last minute after his request

Alan Duncan is a model of indiscretion in new BBC Brexit documentary

The new BBC documentary Brexit Means Brexit: The Unofficial Version lifts the lid on what has gone on behind the scenes since EU referendum result last year. While a host of Westminster stalwarts – including Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Anna Soubry – have contributed to the programme, it’s Alan Duncan’s appearance that has caught Mr S off guard. The Foreign Office minister appears to have forgotten what discretion means – opting to dish the dirt on everything from his direct boss to the government in general. Proving Theresa May’s decision to put Duncan in the Foreign Office – even though he does not get on with Boris Johnson – was not a

Alan Duncan struggles to preserve his modesty

In the EU referendum campaign, Alan Duncan penned a piece for the Telegraph entitled ‘why this lifelong Eurosceptic is now voting to stay in’. In this, the Conservative MP explained the heartfelt reasons he backed Remain. Alas, these were later placed in doubt when Vote Leave’s Matthew Elliott claimed that Duncan had met with him prior to as for a position on their board and then plumped for the In camp after his request was refused. Now it turns out that Duncan’s interactions with the Remain camp weren’t all plain-sailing either. In an extract in the Mail on Sunday from Craig Oliver’s new book on the EU referendum Unleashing Demons,

Cameron and Mugabe: spot the difference

It is not what Robert Mugabe would do. Calm down. These are ‘spiv Robert Mugabe antics’, said the Tory backbencher Nigel Evans, of the government’s alleged £9 million mailshot making the case for staying in the European Union. But no. They aren’t. If David Cameron was behaving like Robert Mugabe, then he wouldn’t just be sending a leaflet to your house. He’d be sending a gang of thugs to your house, who all claimed to have fought in the second world war and yet had an average age of about 22, and then they’d come into your house and make you leave your house, and say it was their house. And

Vote Leave exec accuses Alan Duncan of asking for a board position before backing Remain

This week Sir Alan Duncan penned a piece for the Telegraph entitled ‘why this lifelong Eurosceptic is now voting to stay in’. In this, the Conservative MP explained the reasons he is backing Remain. To show how torn he had been over the decision, Duncan revealed that he had even met with Vote Leave ahead of opting to join the In camp: ‘I am one of those who many expected in the referendum campaign to be a fervent advocate of leaving. Until recently I also expected it of myself – even going so far as to speak to the Leave organisers at their HQ.’ However, Vote Leave’s Matthew Elliott has put forward

Westminster’s gone barking

It’s that time of year again – sandwiched between conference season and the Autumn statement – when the nation’s political pooches (and their owners) descend on Westminster. Yes, yesterday saw the Westminster Dog of the Year show, 2014. Last year’s winner, Noodle the cockerpoo (and her owner, Alan Duncan) had been promoted to the judging panel after her success, and seemed keen to be back on the podium. She wasn’t the only one, either. David Burrowes’ Cholmeley (who came third last year, and second in 2012), also seemed very attached to the winner’s platform, and posed nicely alongside it. But sadly for Cholmeley, there was no space for a labrador on

Ruff justice at the Westminster Dog of the Year competition

Off to the highlight of Mr Steerpike’s 2013, the Westminster Dog of the Year competition, where the pedigree chums of our elected representatives lined up to compete for a prestigious place on the podium. With Jake Berry’s standard poodle Lola taking a break from the competition after competing three years in a row, someone was needed to fill the role of Westminster Poodle – and Alan Duncan’s Noodle was more than willing to fill Lola’s pawprints.  Although strictly a Cockapoo, so only half poodle (very on-trend, don’t you know), Noodle had gone all-out with her campaigning, even going so far at to write her very own ‘Dogifesto’. She wasn’t alone

Alan Duncan is wrong about ‘token women’

It takes a courageous individual to brave the threats to their person that public utterances on gender seem to attract these days. Undeterred, Alan Duncan is among them. (This is a man who once made a citizen’s arrest after protestors flung paint bombs at the Tory Party chair, after all). Last week the international development minister reportedly cautioned the prime minister against promoting ‘token women’ in his next cabinet reshuffle. Duncan rests his argument, in part, on his experiences as the Conservative Party’s first openly gay MP, telling the Financial Times: ‘I never wanted to be a token gay and now things have progressed so there is no need for

Going, going, gong

Comedy bad boy Heydon Prowse, famed for digging a pound sign into Alan Duncan’s front lawn at the height of the expenses scandal, was honoured for his services with a golden gong at Sunday night’s Baftas. Steerpike hears he hit the celebrations at the Southbank Centre after-party a little too hard. Prowse was the last guest standing, running around asking if anyone had seen his Bafta. When he finally surfaced he told me: ‘I left it on the dance floor. You have no idea how heavy those things are, like genuinely heavy.’ But who would pinch a gong at an awards show? Prowse has a theory: ‘I reckon the Made in Chelsea

The UK pays salaries to terrorists

Why are UK taxpayers paying salaries to terrorists? The answer, as I explain in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, is Alan Duncan. The International Development Minister has been told repeatedly that money provided by the UK taxpayer to the Palestinian Authority’s and its ‘general budget’ is being used to pay salaries to Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails. As I explain in the piece, Alan Duncan appears to have remained smugly unbothered about these payments of up to £2,000 a month to the worst murderers. That is more than the average income across most of Britain. Duncan’s claims that this was not happening have now been thoroughly refuted. Andrew Mitchell resigned

David Cameron turns to Sir George Young again

Sir George Young’s appointment as chief whip is testament to both the respect David Cameron holds him in and the Prime Minister’s intense dislike of reshuffles. This is the second time that Cameron has asked Young to step in after a colleague has imploded, the first time was in 2009 when Alan Duncan was caught complaining about how MPs were ‘treated like shit’ and ‘forced to live on rations’. I suspect, though, that one thing that marked Young out this time was that his appointment would not require any other changes in the government ranks. Sir George is one of the politest people that you’re ever likely to meet. I

Debate report: Britain must cut its overseas aid budget now

Last night, as we mentioned yesterday and the day before, was The Spectator’s debate on whether Britain should cut its overseas aid budget. Here, for CoffeeHousers who couldn’t attend the event, is Lloyd Evans’ review of it:   Chair: Rod Liddle Proposing: Ian Birrell, Richard Dowden, Stephen Glover Opposing: Prof Paul Collier, Alan Duncan MP, Richard Miller   Ian Birrell, former speechwriter for David Cameron, proposed the motion by likening aid programmes to helping child beggars in the third world. The gift, though well-intentioned, keeps children out of school, encourages more kids to start begging and condemns entire families to penury. If aid worked, Birrell would happily treble it. But

Right to reply: The aid debate we need to have

As Fraser pointed out yesterday, the Spectator’s debate on international aid is tonight (all CoffeeHousers welcome, tickets available here). To further set the stage for that debate, here’s a response to Fraser’s original post from the folk at Christian Aid: I’m glad that, in his post yesterday, the Spectator editor said he is in favour of aid, and that some of it is best done by governments. And, like him, I’m also in favour of aid spending being at least protected from cuts. On these two points we agree. That’s about the extent of our common ground. The British government made a commitment to devote 0.7 per cent of economic