Esther mcvey

Tory power couple’s TV love-in

It appears David Lammy isn’t the only MP building a lucrative media career. Turning on GB News yesterday, Mr S enjoyed seeing not one but two Tory backbenchers presenting a show together: Esther McVey and her husband Philip Davies. The pair are very much the Beyonce and Jay Z of the Commons, having enjoyed parliamentary freebies together for a number of years.  And now the couple seem to be making the most publicly out of their private lives by hosting a programme on which they regularly invite their fellow Conservative MPs. Yesterday’s offering for instance boasted not one but two of McVey’s colleagues, with both Treasury minister John Glen and veteran

Esther McVey’s curious new alliance

Whether it’s Labour and Plaid in Wales, the SNP and Greens in Scotland or Red Wallers and free-marketeers within Westminster, it’s an interesting time for political alliances at present. But Mr S brings news of a fresh new cross-party effort to raise the eyebrows of even those cynical veterans of the ChangeUK years. Esther McVey – the true-blue Tatton Tory torch-holder of the Thatcherite flame – is spearheading calls to regulate music streaming under the auspices of the #BrokenRecordCampaign. The former Cabinet minister has been drumming up support for the initiative, penning enthusiastic op-eds for the Times and rounding up 44 Conservative MPs to co-sign a letter calling on Boris Johnson to ‘level

When staged Tory conference panels go rogue

The Tories have tried to jazz up their conference hall this year, after accusations that the whole thing was becoming a bit robotic and boring. It’s fair to say that this has had mixed results. One of the exciting developments is the use of panel discussions between ministers, which is supposed to encourage greater audience participation. Members in the hall can submit questions using the conference app, and the panel then answer the most popular ones. This morning’s session with Housing and Planning Minister Esther McVey, Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi and Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry offered Tory activists a lively – and at times unintentionally unsettling – insight into

Delays to Universal Credit won’t fix its fundamental flaw

It’s rare that a government pauses the implementation of a flagship policy. There’s so much ego involved in these matters that to do so is to admit a failing, rather than merely being sensible. But the government has had little choice but to further delay the roll-out of Universal Credit while it sorts out some of the problems with it. The plan had originally been that a further roll-out to four million people would start in January, with more claimants moving in July. But today the Work and Pensions department confirmed that the July deadline has moved to November as a result of fears across Parliament that those who are

Sorry seems to be the hardest word for John McDonnell

Although John McDonnell is supposed to play a key part in Jeremy Corbyn’s drive for a kinder, gentler politics, remarks he made about ‘lynching’ Esther McVey, at a Remembrance Sunday event back in 2014, continue to distract from the message. McDonnell’s defence is that he was quoting someone else who (he claims) wanted to lynch her – rather than wanting to lynch her himself. This morning on the Andrew Marr show, McDonnell was given the chance to apologise for his comments. Alas, he declined: It seems sorry really is the hardest word… Readers can listen for themselves here.  

Labour might not like to admit it but economic growth has created an employment boom

With 105 days to go until the General Election, politicians of all sides will be slugging it out between now and 7 May. The starting gun has been fired and the policy battles have begun. Unfortunately, we are starting to hear a lot of misinformation from the Opposition. When the Labour Party continually talk down the UK’s employment opportunities, it has a negative impact on the confidence of jobseekers across the UK.  On a day when we have seen a new set of milestones – the unemployment rate falling to a six year low of 5.8 per cent, jobs vacancies at a 14-year record high, 30.8 million people in work and

Diary – 11 May 2017

Watching the general election from my newsroom is an out-of-body experience. I’ve been involved in the last five general elections variously as photocopy boy, parliamentary candidate, shadow minister, campaign manager and chancellor. This time I’m reporting on the election as editor of the Evening Standard. I have a lot to learn; but I have a great team to help me. There is something remarkable, magical even, about the way every day tens of thousands of words are written on everything from the implications of the French election to Arsène Wenger, to this summer’s trendiest cocktails; then laid out on pages with striking pictures and adverts; printed on a million copies;

Philip Davies moves on from Esther McVey

When Esther McVey moved into Philip Davies’ flat in 2013, the pair were quick to dispel rumours that they were anything more than good friends. Davies – who had separated from his wife at the time – went so far as to gush of his glamorous friend that he was ‘flattered anyone could think I am dating her’. Now the platonic pair’s living arrangements have come to an end, with McVey – who lost her seat to Labour in the election – recently moving out of Davies’ London flat. Happily, the Tory backbencher won’t be short of company, as Davies tells Mr S he has already found a new housemate: ‘I have a new housemate, he’s

Alex Salmond tells Anna Soubry to ‘behave yourself, woman’

Alex Salmond’s reintroduction to Parliament has hit a few bumps in the road this week. He was criticised on Tuesday when he appeared to use Charles Kennedy’s death as an opportunity to push Scottish independence. Now, Salmond has told Anna Soubry, the small business minister, to ‘behave herself, woman’. During a House of Commons debate last night on devolution, he stopped his speech and scolded Soubry for her behaviour in the chamber: ‘Luckily the honourable lady is on the front bench so therefore won’t be standing for chair on one of these select committees, otherwise she would have done her chances no good whatsoever. The Treasury bench should behave better in these debates,

A Cabinet of losers?

Here’s an interesting factoid. We have gone the longest time since any serving Cabinet Minister has lost their seat… ever. Seven were booted out in 1997, most famously Defence Secretary Michael Portillo in Enfield Southgate – an experience shared by just 32 people since 1900. To some extent, MPs from marginals may be less likely to reach the Cabinet: they are by definition more likely to be newly elected and are forced to spend vast amounts of time and energy campaigning in their constituency, from which a Cabinet role can serve as a distraction. 2015 seems likely to end this streak, with five names around the current Cabinet table looking

Poll of key marginal seats finds swing towards Labour

Are the Conservatives or Labour wining the ground war in marginal seats? Lord Ashcroft has polled eight key constituencies — of which seven are currently held by Conservatives and one by Labour — that he visited six months ago to see who is winning. In these seats, Ashcroft has found there is currently a five per cent swing away from the Conservatives. According to Ashcroft, Labour is on track to take five of these Tory seats: City of Chester, Croydon Central, Halesowen & Rowley Regis, Nuneaton and Wirral West — the latter being one of the few Tory seats on Merseyside, represented by the employment minister Esther McVey. The interactive chart above shows Ashcroft’s latest snapshots for each of the seats. Labour

Speaker Bercow apologises for comparing a minister to a washing machine

If ever you needed evidence that politics at the moment is a bit, well, weird, John Bercow has just apologised in the House of Commons for comparing Esther McVey to a washing machine. At Work and Pensions Questions in the Commons on Monday, the Speaker cut the minister off during an answer by saying ‘I am reminded of the feeling when one thinks the washing machine will stop—but it does not!’ Today, in response to a point of order from Tory Heather Wheeler, Bercow said: ‘I hope I ordinarily treat members with great courtesy, it was an off-the-cuff remark, it may have been a foolish one, and I apologise for

Commons sexism row: Barry Sheerman calls Esther McVey a ‘hard-hearted Hannah’

Things became heated in the commons today after Barry Sheerman told Esther McVey to stop being a ‘hard-hearted Hannah’ during a Department for Work and Pensions questions. The incident occurred after Sheerman voiced his concerns over the department’s handling of the government’s welfare reforms. McVey has taken none too kindly to the term, which is a reference to an Ella Fitzgerald song. The Conservative MP says that it is ‘not the first time that the opposition benches have been like this to me’. Sheerman meanwhile insists his innocence, claiming it was not a sexist comment. ‘She has a reputation for being a very hard champion of the welfare reforms this Government has introduced and I believe it

Politicians needn’t be so afraid of saying what they think

Politicians know they need to be more natural, less spun, and more honest about what they think. But most of them carry on sounding unnatural, spin-doctored and cagey because they’re worried about the media will do to them if they speak their minds. They fear being pounced upon by journalists keen to write up their latest ‘gaffe’. But this week we’ve seen two politicians saying what they think without any major repercussions. Example one comes from Boris Johnson in his interview with Tim Shipman. The Mayor was asked whether he watched Coronation Street or Eastenders: ‘Um. What a world we live in where you are felt to be out of

Labour’s weak welfare attack leaves Tories to chant tribal slogans in Commons

Today’s Work and Pensions Questions was taken almost exclusively by Esther McVey – to the extent that when Steve Webb finally got the chance to answer a question, he joked that he had started to ‘feel unemployed’ while waiting for his big moment. Even Iain Duncan Smith only got one good stint at the despatch box, when Rachel Reeves asked him about the progress of Universal Credit. But the rest of the session was McVey Question Time. Tory MPs are naturally in a tribal mood at the moment, and so all most of them want to talk about was the jobs fairs they’re all holding in their constituencies. ‘I organised

Esther McVey dodges White Dee debate

Upon leaving the Celebrity Big Brother house, Benefits Street star and Spectator contributor White Dee – also known as Deirdre Kelly – threatened to give ‘David Cameron a run for his money,’ and she’s true to her word. Fresh from this year’s Channel Five finale, Dee is about to enter a different sort of mad house full of self-obsessed prima donnas: Tory Party conference. Tory MP Mark Hoban has been nominated to debate Dee, after Esther McVey – another former telly star – chickened out of the showdown organised by Policy Exchange. Unlike McVey to dodge an opportunity for publicity.

The carnival is over for the Notting Hill set

It is the Sunday after the reshuffle before. Today’s papers are brimming with post reshuffle stories; and not of the kind that Downing Street will like. The Mail on Sunday reveals that Philip Hammond demanded an assurance that he wouldn’t just be keeping the seat warm for George Osborne at the Foreign Office. While the Sunday Times reports on how Owen Paterson and Liam Fox plan to ‘rough up’ the Prime Minister over Europe. The animosity of the right towards Cameron is, perhaps, to be expected. But one of the most striking things about the reshuffle is that it has severed the emotional bonds between Cameron and the modernisers who

David Cameron’s misogynistic reshuffle

[audioplayer src=”″ title=”Louise Mensch and Martha Gill discuss the reshuffle” startat=54] Listen [/audioplayer]Ask anyone who really knows David Cameron and they will tell you he likes a certain kind of woman. He has a very specific type, the Prime Minister. It is almost spooky the way all his women conform to it. They are all attractive, accomplished, articulate and well-dressed. But there is something else that makes certain women irresistible to Mr Cameron. While giving the appearance of being feisty and uncompromising, his sort of woman usually seems to know when to fall into line. I am not speaking of romantic conquests, but of the type of woman the Prime

David Cameron’s cosmetic exercise bemuses the Tories

Today’s reshuffle has been largely about cosmetic improvements to the Conservative party — not just through the promotion of female MPs, but also by neutralising certain policy areas such as education and planning reform that had antagonised some groups. But an important element in any changing of the guard is party management, and not just managing cross sacked ministers. So how has the Conservative party reacted to today’s events? Naturally, all Tory MPs are as startled as everyone else by Michael Gove’s departure. But it does make sense to them. Ministerial colleagues had grown increasingly frustrated that Gove, who polls very badly with the general public, was having fights and

Fraser Nelson

6am Spectator podcast special: Cameron’s reshuffle – the hiring begins

Good morning. We’ve just had the night of the long knives – for middle-aged Tory ministers at least. Now for the promotions, and you can expect a disproportionate number of them to be younger and female. Will Britain join the list of countries with female defence secretaries? Will Esther McVey, Liz Truss and Priti Patel become the new faces of David Cameron’s government? And will any of them much welcome the idea that this is a mission to bring on the women? I discuss this with Isabel Hardman and James Forsyth in this special edition of The View from 22, The Spectator’s podcast. listen to ‘Cameron’s reshuffle: now for the hiring.