Steerpike

Steerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

Labour loses control of the credit card

After four straight election defeats, Labour are desperately keen to prove that the party has changed. Gone – supposedly – are the bad old days of tax and spend. Fiscal restraint is now the order of the day. The £28 billion in green spending has been unceremoniously axed; a commitment to restore the bankers’ bonus

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Watch: Chris Bryant’s parliamentary hypocrisy

It’s D-day for Lindsay Hoyle as he battles to save his job. The Speaker of the House got into hot water with the SNP last Wednesday after kiboshing their attempts to force Labour into a bind on a Gaza ceasefire. Stephen Flynn, the nationalists’ Westminster leader, is now pushing for Hoyle to today grant a fresh

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Angela Rayner facing questions over council house sale

A difficult Monday morning for Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner. The right-on left-winger is facing some tricky questions today after Lord Ashcroft did some digging into her background for his latest book Red Queen? As part of his Rayner biography, the former Tory peer published documents which showed that in January 2006 the Ashton-under-Lyne MP

Tory MPs turn on Tobias Ellwood

The fall-out from Lee Anderson’s suspension continues tonight. With speculation still ongoing as to whether the Ashfield MP might defect to Reform, friends of the red wall Rottweiler are concerned that his suspension will, in the words of one, only ‘embolden the wets’. Such fears have only been strengthened tonight by a bizarre row breaking

Lee Anderson loses the Tory whip

Oh dear. Lee Anderson has now lost the Conservative whip after refusing to apologise for comments directed at London’s mayor. Appearing on GB News yesterday, the red wall Rottweiler declared that ‘Islamists’ have ‘got control of London’ and its mayor, Sadiq Khan. He told the network that Khan has ‘Given our capital city away to his

Watch: Truss turns on the Financial Times

Where would be without Liz Truss? The blonde bombshell hit Washington DC this week to attend the great right-wing jamboree that is the Conservative Political Action Conference. Appearing alongside Trump election mastermind Steve Bannon, Truss told the crowd that she had wanted to cut taxes and the size of the state while in No.10, but ‘the

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Civil servants roll over £323 million worth of holiday

It was Douglas Jay who wrote that ‘In the case of nutrition and health… the gentleman in Whitehall really does know better what is good for people than the people know themselves’. But that instinct, it seems, deserts Sir Humphrey when it comes to planning his own holiday. For civil servants have today been told to ‘use it or

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Was Cameron behind Prince William’s Gaza intervention?

Eyebrows in Westminster this week after Prince William opted to wade into the Gaza conflict. On Tuesday, the Prince of Wales declared that ‘Too many have been killed’, adding ‘I, like so many others, want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible’. Royals typically remain neutral on geopolitical matters so why

Watch: Penny Mordaunt blasts Labour for picking on Speaker

Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt has backed Lindsay Hoyle in the row over the Gaza ceasefire vote – and accused Labour of picking on the Speaker. Mordaunt said Hoyle was a ‘decent man’ and blamed Keir Starmer’s party for last night’s debacle in the Commons. The Tory MP hit out at her

Watch: Tory MP blasts Speaker over ceasefire debacle

The chaos of the Brexit days has reignited in parliament tonight. The drama broke out after Speaker Lindsay Hoyle selected a Labour amendment calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, despite the Clerk of the House’s warning that doing so went against parliamentary convention. Hoyle reportedly wanted to offer a wider debate, in light of concerns

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Tucker Carlson’s spat with Boris Johnson turns nasty

It’s fair to say today that Boris Johnson and Tucker Carlson don’t like each other much. After the invasion of Ukraine, Boris, the former journalist and Prime Minister, accused Carlson, the journalist often tipped to be a future president of the United States, of ‘intimidating’ Republicans who might otherwise help the West stand up to

Labour election chief’s boast backfires

‘Change Labour, change Britain’ has been the internal mantra of the Starmer army since seizing the party leadership nearly four years ago. But while a 20-point lead suggests they’ve made considerable progress in that area, there are infrequent reminders of the not-so-distant Corbynite past. The Rochdale debacle proved to be an uncomfortable reminder of all

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Lord Mandelson slaps down Sue Gray

Turns out politics is harder than it looks. Having quit the civil service at the end of the last year, Sue Gray has received some glowing write-ups in her new capacity as chief of staff to Keir Starmer. But that appears to have been brought to a halt by her interview in yesterday’s Times in

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Another by-election loss looms for Rishi

It never rains but it pours for our beleaguered Prime Minister. Less than a week after the Tories were defeated in both the Wellingborough and Kingswood by-elections, Rishi Sunak is now facing the loss of yet another Tory-held seat. Scott Benton this morning lost his appeal against his 35-day suspension from parliament, following a Times

It’s Kemi versus the ex-Post Office chief

An almighty war of words has broken out over the biggest political drama of the year. In the red corner is Henry Staunton, former chairman of the Post Office. He has used an interview in yesterday’s Sunday Times to suggest the government deliberately tried to slow down compensation payments to sub postmasters. And in the

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Former Clegg aide: let babies vote, seriously

The Liberal Democrats has long been home to some of Britain’s most unorthodox political thinking. But even Mr S was surprised by the radical suggestion of one former top aide on how to address intergenerational inequality. Speaking on the Times Radio election podcast, former Nick Clegg advisor Polly Mackenzie gave her thoughts on what constitutional

The National’s Matheson spin backfires

Who’d want to be a Scottish nationalist, eh? The SNP’s poll ratings are tanking faster than their Ferguson Marine ferries fleet, with Humza Yousaf proving to be as adept at First Minister as he was at transport, justice and health. After 17 years in power, the party’s record on crime, spending and drug deaths is

Labour’s confusing ceasefire stance

If the Scottish Labour party are keen to get one message across at their Glasgow conference, it’s that they are the party of change. ‘That is what change means. That is why change matters,’ riffed Anas Sarwar throughout his keynote speech – 14 times, to be precise. But while more specifics about Scottish Labour’s ‘change’

Scottish Labour leader decries flip-flopping

Irony alert up in Scotland. Conference season is upon us again, with Anas Sarwar’s Labour party hosting their three-day soiree in Glasgow. It’s significantly busier — and bigger — than last year’s event, with one veteran declaring to Mr S: ‘This looks like a party preparing to win an election.’ And it was in that