Penny Mordaunt won’t save the Tories

Rebellious Tory MPs, expecting a trouncing in Thursday’s locals, are apparently mooting a ‘100 days to save Britain!’ emergency turnaround strategy. A new leader, a payrise for doctors, defence spending up to 3 per cent. Having four prime ministers in one parliamentary term would be good for future pub quizzes, but who is apparently choice for that number four slot? Penny Mordaunt. To what problem is she the solution? Her worst quality is that she will follow whatever is fashionable or socially expedient, not her own judgement. Mordaunt is a model example of style over substance. And what style! Because she looks just right – the mane, the steely glare,

Lee Anderson suspended: what now?

Lee Anderson has been suspended from the Conservative party this afternoon after saying on GB News that Islamists controlled Sadiq Khan. Will Rishi Sunak miss having the Ashfield MP in his party? Will Anderson join reform? Max Jeffery speaks to Fraser Nelson and Katy Balls.

Boris’s Thatcher coal mine quip infuriates Tory MPs

During the Scottish parliament election campaign, Boris Johnson was criticised by the SNP for failing to visit Scotland. His absence wasn’t seen as such a bad thing, however, by Scottish Tories who took the view that a visit from the Prime Minister was a risky bet and could actually prove a voter turn off when it came to a winning electoral pitch. So the very fact Johnson this week embarked on a visit north of the border ought to be taken as a sign that the independence situation is improving for unionists.  After Nicola Sturgeon fell one short of a majority in the Holyrood elections, an effort is underway to use this opportunity to boost

Johnny Mercer and the Tory loyalty problem

Following his re-election as Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady would be well advised to start banging a few heads together. Because the Conservative parliamentary party has turned into a thoroughgoing disgrace. We’ve all read about the ‘transactional’ relationship between most Tory MPs and Boris Johnson – i.e. they will only continue to back him if he keeps winning. But what the past few days has highlighted is the transactional relationship Tory MPs have with each other. There is almost no semblance of basic team loyalty, let alone that higher level of solidarity known as esprit de corps. Currently this is not a band of brothers and sisters

Our local councillors who’ve lost their seats must be sighing with relief

An angry text exchange between me and a former Tory councillor after she lost her seat has got me thinking. During the campaign, I asked this lady if she would like to put a poster in my front garden as it adjoins the village green. Even more to the point, next door to me is her main rival, who has a placard fixed to his front wall. Her reply came back no thanks. She did not want me to put up a poster or placard as it would only make matters worse by reminding the opposition to vote. In terms of the effect on her main opponent, she said it

Prepare for Javid vs Sunak in the next Tory leadership contest

In 1992 a young footballer named Dion Dublin left my local team, Cambridge United, to take up one of the most coveted jobs in football – centre-forward at Manchester United. After a promising first few outings, disaster struck when he suffered a broken leg. By the time he was restored to fitness a genius named Eric Cantona had been signed and was strutting his stuff up front. Being a good lad, young Dion took it well enough. But it was basically game over for him at Old Trafford. As Sajid Javid rose from the Commons back benches this week to ask Chancellor Rishi Sunak a question about his summer economic

Is Boris brave enough to stand up to the Nimbys?

In the next few weeks, the government will publish planning reforms designed to simplify the system and free up land for development, I report in the magazine this week. It is by far the government’s most significant supply-side reform. One of those involved says ‘this is what the Thatcher government should have done but didn’t’. The plans would see the UK move to a zonal development system. In certain land classes, building would be actively encouraged, with a presumption in favour of development. The Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has pushed aesthetic standards, influenced by the work of the late Roger Scruton, which he believes will ensure new homes are more

Conservatives – corporations are not your friend

Amazon is suspending police use of its face-recognition software, HBO Max has pulled Gone With the Wind and Paramount Network announced the cancelling of long-running series COPS. These and a steady stream of other corporate giants have taken unambiguous political stances in the wake of George Floyd’s killing and the protests that followed. It is a mistake to doubt their sincerity. There was a time when corporations feigned interest in black and ethnic minority consumers. Hollywood was particularly notorious for this and there was an entire glut of movies in the late 1990s and early 2000s that were marketed to the ‘urban’ demographic (they didn’t use the quote marks back