Andy McDonald Eyeing up Tees Valley Mayoral Run

Teesside is awash with rumours that Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald is considering following in the footsteps of other Labour luminaries like Andy Burnham, Dan Jarvis and Steve Rotheram by packing in his Westminster career to take up a Metro Mayoral post instead. Guido hears that the Middlesbrough MP has all but abandoned hope of actually becoming Transport Secretary in a Corbyn Government and has designs on taking over his local fiefdom instead. McDonald is more likely to do a Jarvis and carry on as an MP if he wins in May 2020, rather than follow his namesake Andy and give up his seat…

Tory Brexiteer Ben Houchen won a shock victory over Labour in the inaugural contest in 2017, he’s been a champion of free ports which Boris has now enthusiastically adopted as his own policy. Labour got trashed at the local elections in May, losing control of all five councils including McDonald’s own in Middlesbrough which had been Labour since 1974. A tired old shadow cabinet face may find it harder than he thinks to just waltz into the job…

UPDATE: McDonald has said it’s “utter nonsense”. Time will tell…

Shadow Transport Secretary’s Undeclared £120,000 Union Adviser

Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald has a few interesting declarations in the Register of Members Financial Interests, in particular a recurring biannual donation of £30,000 from train drivers’ union ASLEF. McDonald has now received £120,000 from strike-happy ASLEF for “secondment of a researcher for my parliamentary office, value £30,000” since 2017. At £60,000 a year, that’s a hell of a lot more than most MPs’ staff

However, on the corresponding Register of Interests of Members’ Staff, only one of McDonald’s four researchers declares an interest – and that an internship funded by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales. So one of McDonald’s other three researchers is hiding their union allegiance from the public. Because they’ve failed to declare it, the public has no idea which one of the three it is…

Of course one of the three has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons, McDonald’s adviser Karl Hansen accused Rachel Riley of being a “bully” for calling out anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. Not that ASLEF themselves are likely to mind if Hansen is their man, their President Tosh McDonald was embroiled in a scandal of his own less than two years ago…

Chris Leslie’s Bitter Labour Bust Up on Question Time

TIG’s Chris Leslie did not hold back in his criticism of the Labour Party on Question Time last night. Andy McDonald didn’t like him bringing up Shami Chakrabarti’s curiously timed peerage…

Shadow Transport Spokesman in Car Crash Interview

Labour Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald had a car crash this morning when he was unable to put a figure on Labour’s proposed total transport spend. Interviewed by 5 Live’s Emma Barnett, McDonald struggled to explain Labour’s “national transformation fund” – a £250 billion bill for nationalisation which a note released with the party’s manifesto implied would funded by capital borrowing. As the interview went off the rails for the shadow transport spokesman, he said:

“I’ve got lots and lots of figures and stats and forgive me if I don’t pull that one out for you today.”

Must be taking lessons from Diane…

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