ANDREW PIERCE: Andrea Leadsom woos Tory MPs over cosy dinners
The warning yesterday by Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom that MPs can’t stop a No Deal exit from the EU will have cheered Brexiteer MPs.
But there is more to her bullish statement than meets the eye: this is Leadsom building bridges with the hardliners.
In a newspaper interview yesterday, she burnished her leadership credentials by resuming her attacks on Speaker John Bercow — with whom she clashed in the Commons last week — which will have won her more friends on the Tory benches.
The warning yesterday by Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom that MPs can’t stop a No Deal exit from the EU will have cheered Brexiteer MPs
She knows she must shore up support among Brexit-supporting MPs because some felt betrayed when she stayed in the Cabinet rather than quit like David Davis, Boris Johnson and Esther McVey in protest at Theresa May’s Brexit plans.
So is she on leadership manoeu-vres, like several of her colleagues? We’ve been here before, of course.
Quote of the week
Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, said to the Prime Minister.
‘If she were to go along to the EU now and tell it, in the face of its intransigence, to get stuffed, the huge proportion of the British people would be absolutely right behind her.’
In the 2016 leadership contest, Leadsom made the last two, but withdrew after provoking controversy by suggesting being a mother meant she had a larger stake in society than Mrs May.
Now Leadsom, who holds informal pizza suppers in her Commons office with Brexiteers such as Michael Gove, is emerging as a contender again.
She is on a sustained charm offensive, having held private dinners at her London flat in the past year for at least 150 Tory MPs from all wings of the party.
Leadsom is also close to Home Secretary Sajid Javid, a born-again Brexiteer, and International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who has always backed Leave.
There has been speculation that Leadsom will back one of them in a leadership contest.
But it may well be that she in fact asks them to support her.
Greg Hands quit as a trade minister over Government plans to expand Heathrow
Hands in the money
Greg Hands, who quit as a trade minister over Government plans to expand Heathrow Airport, hasn’t wasted time finding new work.
Having previously been at the Treasury, he’s become a ‘political consultant’ to Banque BNP Paribas UK on £9,000 for 16 hours’ work a month (or £108,000 a year).
With his £77,000 MP’s salary, he’s now earning more than the PM.
Nice work if you can get it.
Is it getting harder for Parliament to find staff to work under the regime of pompous pipsqueak John Bercow?
The Commons spent a staggering £176,975 on headhunters last year to find candidates for 16 senior posts at Westminster, with an additional £303,860 paid to recruitment agencies over the same period.
Bercow is resisting pressure to quit in 2019 — more than a year after he pledged to go.
Comrade Corbyn, who tried to distract attention from his lies about the ‘stupid woman’ row by accusing the media of ignoring the death of a homeless man at Westminster, has form for politicising rough sleepers.
Jeremy Corbyn laid flowers and a message after 35-year-old Marcos Amaral Gourgel, a former model from Portugal, was found dead in Westminster underground station
What other country would have reacted to this drone fiasco…
Pugnacious? Certainly. Out of touch on Europe? Definitely….
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In February, Corbyn laid flowers and a message after 35-year-old Marcos Amaral Gourgel, a former model from Portugal, was found dead in Westminster underground station.
It later emerged he was a convicted child sex offender who had twice been deported from the UK.
If Downing Street officials are secretly working on a second referendum, no one has told Government ministers.
In the House of Lords, Brexit Minister Lord Callanan said: ‘It is a matter of Government policy that there will not be a second referendum on our exit from the EU.’
Widdecombe braves the slap
Excited at appearing in BBC TV’s Strictly Christmas special, the saintly Ann Widdecombe, the former Tory prisons minister turned novelist, is not looking forward to the make-up routine.
‘I don’t much like the glam stuff,’ Widders tells My Weekly magazine.
‘It takes me hours to wash the muck out off my hair — and I don’t imagine they’ll let me go on Strictly in my gardening trousers.’
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