No 10

Ben Wallace: If defence spending pledge goes, so do I

In politics, where there’s death, there’s life. And as Liz Truss’s premiership crumbles before our eyes, all attention in SW1 is which lucky legislator gets to replace her. Second time Sunak? The people’s Penny? Back again Boris? Or perhaps the man who many wanted to run this summer but ended up dropping out: Ben Wallace, the popular Defence Secretary.  The former Scots Guards officer has been a long-standing fixture at the top of the ConservativeHome Cabinet rankings but opted to back Liz Truss in July rather than run himself. Instead, he extracted a pledge from the Trussette to raise defence spending to 3 per cent of GDP by 2030 – a

Will an Office for the Prime Minister work?

Boris Johnson now leads an interim administration. Within a fortnight, we will have a new occupant of No. 10. What will Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss find waiting for them in Downing Street? And what might the machinery of government mean for their ability to deliver on their campaign promises? The first thing that will strike the new Prime Minister is Johnson’s internal reforms. The creation of an ‘Office of the Prime Minister’ is potentially the most significant, although it was announced late in Johnson’s premiership and it remains to be seen how seriously it has been taken. On arrival, the new Prime Minister may therefore be equally entitled to

True claims torpedo partygate defence

Once upon a time it was the ‘Notting Hill set’ which ran the Tory party, with David Cameron, George Osborne and Michael Gove all boasting homes there. Now though, the Cameroons are largely gone and if there can be said to be an alternative London clique, it will be found seven miles south, in the leafy surroundings of Richmond. For the district is the power base of Carrie Johnson, who worked there for local MP Zac Goldsmith, the defra minister who now sits in the Lords alongside longtime Richmond council leader Nicholas True. The latter’s daughter Sophia also works in No. 10 as a special adviser. But now a little-noticed answer by Lord True has made life

Coming soon: No. 10’s vaccine home movie

‘Extraordinary. Unexpected. Fantastic’ is the tagline for the latest drama out of No. 10 Downing Street. Only this time the stars are not Carrie and the Vote Leave crew but Patrick Vallance, Chris Whitty, Kate Bingham, Jonathan Van-Tam and the other civil servants behind the UK’s vaccine programme. A brief 51 second clip was released this afternoon on the official Downing Street Twitter account and has already gone viral. Billed as ‘A Beacon of Hope: The UK Vaccine Story’, details of the homemade docu-drama have so far been scant.  The initial trailer features interviews with the protagonists interspersed with dramatic clips from throughout the pandemic and a suitably melodramatic score. Steerpike understands the idea