James brokenshire

Could there be a Tory upset in North Shropshire?

As the government turns its attention to the new Covid variant, the ramifications of the Owen Paterson sleaze row are not quite done yet. After a difficult few weeks for the Prime Minister and his team in 10 Downing Street, Boris Johnson’s approval ratings have fallen both with the general public and Tory members. The latest ConservativeHome poll puts Johnson in negative ratings for the second time since the last election among the Tory grassroots — on -17.2. In a way, it’s hardly surprising Johnson’s standing has fallen given the combination of problems facing the government — from tax rises to small boats and the Paterson row. The question is,

In praise of MPs

My first full-time job, at the age of 18, was working for an MP. In the following 27 years, almost my entire career has been spent in or near Westminster. I know and have known lots of MPs. To coin a phrase, some of my best friends are members of parliament. This, of course, means I’m biased on the topic of MPs, inclined by reason or familiarity to think well of them as a group. But it also means, I hope, that I have a bit of knowledge — knowledge that might be worth sharing as the Commons remembers Sir David Amess and James Brokenshire. It’s hard to generalise about

Portrait of the week | 16 May 2019

Home Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said that the EU withdrawal bill would be introduced in the Commons in the first week of June (just when President Donald Trump of the United States is making his state visit). If parliament did not vote for it, Britain would leave without an agreement, or its notice to leave under Article 50 would be revoked. Parliament sat for its 301st day, the longest session since the Long Parliament in the English Civil War. Olly Robbins, the civil servant who is chief negotiator for exiting the European Union, was sent to Brussels for no clear reason. May had a meeting with Jeremy Corbyn, the