As Rishi faces backbench criticism for easing his rhetoric on China, Guido can reveal yet more incidences of warming relations with the authoritarian state. The Treasury today rolled out the red carpet to Chinese influence. Iain Duncan Smith should avert his gaze now.
In a special themed meal, the department displayed Chinese flags and oriental decorations. Knowing Whitehall, someone’s going down for cultural appropriation.
Co-conspirators won’t be surprised to see that the tofu-eating wokerati are making themselves at home in the Treasury, with “tofu, water chestnut and mushroom in black bean sauce” one of the meals on offer – for a modest £5.02. The meal went down well. A source claims the queue was the longest they’ve seen, adding that the dumplings “looked peng”. Guido’s just glad the Chancellor wasn’t behind the move. The coffers couldn’t handle the strain of subsidised sushi.
Iain Duncan Smith has slammed Rishi Sunak for using his G20 visit to water down Liz’s hardline position on China. Speaking to the travelling press pack, Rishi labelled China a “systematic threat” before correcting himself to “systematic challenge”. He did go on, however, to admit it is the “biggest state-based threat to our economic security”. This marks a lowering of the temperature compared to Truss’s plan to elevate China’s formal status to ‘threat’…
Rishi also refused to follow in Liz’s wake on the issue of sending arms to Taiwan. His predecessor vowed she would do so, with Rishi now promising to “consider all these things as part of the refresh of the integrated review.” Not a refusal, just less hawkish language.
China-hawk-in-chief Iain Duncan Smith isn’t happy. He told Politico:
“What more evidence does [Sunak] need that they are threatening our very values and the way we live our lives?”
“We’ve seen the assault in Manchester and ad hoc Chinese police stations trying to coerce Chinese citizens back into China by bullying them and threatening them.”
“This is a cop-out. The saddest part of this is that President Xi Jinping will see this about-turn as a sign of weakness by the PM.”
Newly-elected Foreign Affairs Committee chair Alicia Kearns is less upset, however, arguing that redesignating China’s threat status was merely a Truss PR stunt that would have changed little.
“Changing the designation of China would have rendered us an outlier amongst our Five Eyes partners and risked distraction from developing a more strategic approach.”
Meanwhile the main news overnight is that No. 10 released a photo of Rishi glaring at Lavrov. Very intimidating…
Everyone likes Tom Tugendhat but it’s really not necessary for him to like everyone back. How many times did he “absolutely agree” and render “enormous thanks”? He is the new Security minister and this was his first appearance at the despatch box but there was no need for such winsomeness. He was forgiven the use of the term “front-footing” as some kind of verb – he is young and uses fashionable language (LOL). But did he really refer to “our excellent police forces”? With a straight face? A rising mist surrounded him: it was political capital evaporating.
He had two consecutive outings today, neither of them strictly necessary. The first was to answer an Urgent Question posed by the new chair of the Foreign Affairs committee, a stately galleon at sea under the name of Alicia Kearns.
In her early 30s, she defeated more than one Tory grandee in the election to her position – one of them being Iain Duncan Smith. This still-youthful elder statesman usually sits in front of his rival on these occasions, and asks sharp, well-phrased questions in his carrying voice. Among his supporters, he will be creating the impression that he was robbed, that the election was stolen, that he is the rightful chair.
On Sunday the Trades Union Congress announced the striking results of their MRP poll conducted with Opinium, predicting a 411-seat Labour landslide. The results were pored over by SW1’s Twitter pundits and sent shivers down the spines of Tory MPs.
Although The Guardian published the names of Cabinet ministers to lose out, Guido has done the public service duty of digging through the data to put the names to each constituency that switched hands in the poll. Strap yourself in, it’s a long list…
Amongst the most notable losses to the Tory backbenches are Matt Hancock, Priti Patel, Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, Grant Shapps, Douglas Ross and Iain Duncan Smith. The Conservatives also lose most of their inroads to the “red wall” including Lee Anderson, Dehenna Davison and Brendan Clarke-Smith. Boris Johnson is set to lose his seat, he’ll be relieved Reigate remains blue…
Read the full list below: