ANDREW PIERCE: Beset Boris makes peace with a rebel 


As turf wars rage among the staff at No. 10, a battle- weary Boris Johnson has sued for peace with one of Parliament’s most senior MPs.

In July the PM removed the Tory whip from Julian Lewis in an act of revenge, after the rebellious member for New Forest East stood against Johnson’s preferred candidate, Chris Grayling, for chairmanship of the influential Commons Intelligence And Security Committee.

What’s more, he committed the cardinal sin of actually winning.

Downing Street had assumed Grayling would be a shoo-in, but there was a revolt among MPs as he had no experience in security and had been ridiculed by many MPs when, as Transport Secretary, he gave a contract to a company which owned no ferries to provide ferries in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

In July the PM removed the Tory whip from Julian Lewis (pictured) in an act of revenge, after the rebellious member for New Forest East stood against Johnson’s preferred candidate, Chris Grayling, for chairmanship of the influential Commons Intelligence And Security Committee

The dud deal cost the taxpayer £80 million, and the hapless minister was saddled with the nickname ‘Failing Grayling’.

Since Lewis’s victory, however, the work he and his committee have been doing on the danger of Chinese involvement in cybersecurity has attracted the PM’s admiration, and last month Boris quietly asked him to rejoin the Tory parliamentary party. Lewis was delighted to comply.

But some things don’t change. When the Opposition proposed two amendments to the National Security and Investment Bill shortly afterwards, the independent-minded Lewis voted against the Government.

As turf wars rage among the staff at No. 10, a battle- weary Boris Johnson (pictured) has sued for peace with one of Parliament¿s most senior MPs

As turf wars rage among the staff at No. 10, a battle- weary Boris Johnson (pictured) has sued for peace with one of Parliament’s most senior MPs

Pop track to pep up Sir Keir

Is the Tony Blair revival back on after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s underwhelming showing in recent weeks?

Top music publisher Blue Raincoat has acquired the rights to Things Can Only Get Better, the D:Ream floor-filler that was the theme song of New Labour’s 1997 landslide.

Emma Kamen, the publisher’s head of business development, says the anthem is ‘a song people will always want to hear — joyous and catchy in equal measure’.

Perhaps Sir Keir, depressing and forgettable in equal measure, should employ it to add some pep to his next display of ‘oratory’.

It’s FIREWORKS for the Swires 

Sasha Swire, whose Diary Of An MP’s Wife was a deserved bestseller, has been recalling the time her husband, Hugo, a keen shooting man, decided to dry off some wet cartridges on the Aga in their Devon home.

Old Etonian Swire, a junior minister in David Cameron’s government, then put them in the microwave.

The resulting scene could have come from the Chinese New Year, according to Lady Swire in the New Statesman, complete with a terrified dog yelping under the kitchen table.

Swire wrote: ‘I slap my forehead and sigh deeply. I’m not exactly a celebrity now but dear God, please get me out of here soon or at the very least get him out of here.’

No wonder Hugo Swire never made the Cabinet.

Amid the brouhaha over the withdrawal of patronages from Harry and Meghan, there was a queue of broadcasters trying to persuade Gyles Brandreth, who wrote a book about his long-time friend Prince Philip and the Queen, to speak about the Sussexes. Brandreth, a former Tory MP, tweeted: ‘Thanks for asking, but I’ve nothing to say on the subject. I have given up Harry and Meghan for Lent.’

Amid the brouhaha over the withdrawal of patronages from Harry and Meghan, there was a queue of broadcasters trying to persuade Gyles Brandreth (pictured), who wrote a book about his long-time friend Prince Philip and the Queen, to speak about the Sussexes

Amid the brouhaha over the withdrawal of patronages from Harry and Meghan, there was a queue of broadcasters trying to persuade Gyles Brandreth (pictured), who wrote a book about his long-time friend Prince Philip and the Queen, to speak about the Sussexes

Political quote of the week: Great Grimsby’s former Labour MP Austin Mitchell says: ‘I’ll believe Boris got a good fishing settlement when he poses on Grimsby docks in a southwester proclaiming “plaice in our time”.’ 

Lord Frost’s appointment to the Cabinet as minister in charge of relations with the EU is another feather in the cap of the fee-paying Nottingham High School (currently £5,148 per term).

The formidable Brexit negotiator is the third pupil who started at the school between 1976 and 1978 to make the Cabinet, alongside Ed Balls, a former Labour education minister, and Sir Ed Davey (remember him?), the Lib Dem leader who was in David Cameron’s Coalition Cabinet.

Other former pupils include Ken Clarke, the former Tory Chancellor, and Geoff Hoon, who was a Labour Defence Secretary. Is NHS the new Eton?

Lord Frost¿s appointment to the Cabinet as minister in charge of relations with the EU is another feather in the cap of the fee-paying Nottingham High School (currently £5,148 per term)

Lord Frost’s appointment to the Cabinet as minister in charge of relations with the EU is another feather in the cap of the fee-paying Nottingham High School (currently £5,148 per term)

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