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

Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year 2023, in pictures

Looking back, 2023 didn’t have all of the fireworks that the previous 12 months brought. As December fast approaches, both Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer remain in post – a change from 2022 and the year of four Chancellors, three premiers and two monarchs as well. But at this year’s Spectator Parliamentarian Awards, the gossip


Matheson should resign over £11k iPad bill, Scots say

More trouble for Humza Yousaf’s beleaguered Health Secretary Michael Matheson. A new poll for STV News shows 61 per cent of Scots think he should resign over the £11,000 bill in data charges racked up on his parliamentary iPad during a family holiday to Morocco.  The bill was covered by the taxpayer out of a combination of

Has Robert Jenrick gone rogue?

A curious performance in the Commons today by Robert Jenrick. The Immigration Minister has long been seen – in the press at least – as a staunch Sunakite, put in at the Home Office to keep a watchful eye on Suella Braverman. But has that all changed after thirteen months at 2 Marsham Street? At


Indyref rerun as No chief takes on SNP

As the general election approaches, Scottish Labour are taking their battle positions. Douglas Alexander, former cabinet minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, has been selected as the candidate for East Lothian. Kirsty McNeill, former special adviser to Brown while he was in No. 10, has been selected as the next candidate for Midlothian. But


Greek PM visit cancelled over Elgin Marbles row

Talk about an undiplomatic row. Rishi Sunak has made much of his credentials on the world stage, most recently demonstrated at the Bletchley Park summit earlier this month. So it was some surprise then that Mr S read of an extraordinary row that has broken out between the British and Greek governments over, er, the

Andrew Bailey does it again

Oh dear. It seems that the Bank of England Governor is suffering from a permanent case of foot-in-mouth syndrome. Andrew Bailey – whose tenure at Threadneedle Street has done little for the Bank’s reputation – has caused needless headlines with another Eeyore-esque interview about the UK economy. Speaking, bizarrely, to local media in Newcastle, the


Yousaf’s ‘cack-handed’ council tax freeze flops

It’s another week of rancour and recrimination in the SNP’s unhappy family. Today it’s the turn of rebel backbencher Fergus Ewing. Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland this morning, the born-and-bred nationalist hit out at his own party’s ’somewhat cack-handed’ handling of their proposed council tax freeze, bemoaning how there ‘was no proper consultation with our


SNP drops plans to pardon witches

Ding, dong, the bill is dead. Yes, that’s right: Holyrood’s much-trumpeted plan to pardon witches has now been dropped by the SNP, as the party desperately tries to conjure up something resembling a governing agenda. Around 4,000 Scots accused of being witches were tortured to gain their confessions and executed under the Witchcraft Act between

Starmer says the EU anthem best sums up Labour

Join die Labour jubilation! Keir Starmer, the man who is very likely to be our next prime minister, has just been asked on Classic FM to choose a piece of music that sums up Labour and picked ‘Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the choral Ode to Joy’. Which just happens to be the European Union’s anthem. ‘It has

James Cleverly admits to foul-mouthed Commons jibe

James Cleverly has admitted to calling a Labour parliamentarian a ‘shit MP’ – but denied saying Stockton North is a ‘shithole’. The Home Secretary confessed to making the comment during a heated debate in the Commons following yesterday’s Autumn Statement. Cleverly was overheard taking a pop at Labour’s Alex Cunningham, after the MP for Stockton


Scottish parliament to investigate SNP health secretary

Uh oh. It’s not looking good for Scotland’s health secretary Michael Matheson. During a rather tearful speech in the Chamber last week, Matheson revealed that he had referred himself to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body for an external review. While this temporarily halted press enquiries into the details, the referral isn’t the safety net Matheson

Penny Mordaunt hits back at Tory ‘ideologues’

It’s not been the best of times for the One Nation Tories. Yesterday Andrea Jenkyns – deputy chair of the European Research Group – launched a full-frontal attack on the caucus, telling that GB News: This One Nation Group make up the majority of the parliamentary party, but these are the ones who didn’t want


Watch: MP accused of calling Stockton North a ‘s***hole’

When Labour MP Alex Cunningham asked Rishi Sunak why child poverty was at 34 per cent in his Stockton North constituency, he received an unexpected reply. During the exchange in the Commons, an MP was caught on microphone apparently suggesting the reason was that Stockton North is, er, a ‘shithole’. The comment was picked up


Watch: Labour tease Sunak over Musk meeting

PMQs on the day of the Autumn Statement is a bit like a firework-free Bonfire Night. But a moment of humour was offered today by a ritual bit of Musk-mocking over Rishi Sunak’s one-to-one with the Twitter CEO at Bletchley Park. Labour’s Daniel Zeichner popped up at this afternoon’s session to hurl this zinger at


Watch: Hunt mocks Rachel Reeves’s copy and pasting

Jeremy Hunt isn’t exactly known for his sparkling wit, but he did manage a decent gag during his Autumn Statement this afternoon – at the expense of Labour shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves. Readers may remember that Reeves was recently found to have plagiarised several sentences in her new book from Wikipedia and other online articles. (Reeves

David Cameron charms the Lords

To the rarified surroundings of the Upper House, where the newest member of the government took his place on the red leather of the ministerial front bench. Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton attracted quite the crowd yesterday when he was introduced for the first time, with one peer remarking that they had not seen the


Covid Inquiry stenographer still working from home

It’s another day of exciting testimony at the Covid Inquiry. Thus far, every viral-infected cough and spit has been poured over in endless detail by the assembled hacks, with the latest witnesses no exception. This week’s line-up has been full of familiar faces from the not-so-distant past, with Sir Patrick Vallance the star-turn at yesterday’s

SNP MP dismisses the ferries scandal

If you can’t fix a problem, pretend it never existed. That seems to be the logic of SNP MP Alyn Smith at least. Speaking at ‘The Breakup of Britain’ conference this weekend, the Stirling MP appeared to suggest to his audience that Scotland’s ferries scandal is, er, not actually a priority for the people of


Met police swell their social media army

Scarcely a week seems to go by without an incident involving one of the Metropolitan Police’s social media accounts. Recent controversies on Twitter/X including ruling on whether the term ‘jihad’ constitutes hate speech, getting fact-checked by community notes and making demands for further powers in a post explaining their inability to prosecute those who clamber

Will Sunak publish Braverman’s ‘ransom note’?

Another week of Tory wars looms in SW1. Ministers are desperately trying to find a fix to the Supreme Court’s legal kiboshing of the Rwanda scheme. But one person they certainly can’t rely on for any favours is Suella Braverman, the recently-axed Home Secretary. On Tuesday, she published a stinging three-page assessment of Rishi Sunak’s