Political Editor Runners & Riders GB News

The currently invisible on the channel Darren McCaffrey’s impending departure from GB News means the plum political editor’s job is up for grabs. Speculation is already rife over who will take over the leading role at the UK’s second-biggest dedicated news channel…

  • Christopher Hope – Currently Associate Editor (Politics) at The Telegraph. A stalwart of the Lobby and podcaster extraordinaire, surely useful given GB News’ ambitions for their radio station. Chopper’s name is already doing the rounds in the GB Newsroom and would give the insurgent station a big boost. Has notably increased his appearances on the channel recently, even standing in for Andrew Doyle and presenting a full show.
  • Tom Harwood – Political correspondent at GB News. Has been at the channel since its launch, has impeccable contacts, knows a story and has concerning levels of energy that would come in handy during the next general election. Might have to sacrifice his love of delivering early morning free market polemics on wonk issues to make time for more mainstream content, though. Shame.
  • Camilla Tominey –  Another Telegraph bigwig, currently serving as their Associate Editor and columnist. Has presented the GB News Sunday morning offering for nearly a month now, and in Guido’s opinion is already on a par with Sophy Ridge and Laura Kuenssberg in terms of interview quality.
  • Angus Walker – Former ITN political correspondent and Gavin Williamson SpAd. Good broadcaster and Tory-adjacent.
  • Gloria de Piero – Former Labour MP with relatively sound Red Wall credentials. Her appointment would surely be a sign the channel is laying the ground for a prolonged period of Labour government. She has a long history of broadcasting, including the BBC and seven years at GMTV, during which time she was the political editor. Has already produced a series of very good interviews with top-level politicians for the channel.
  • Kate McCann – Political editor at TalkTV. A very similar job opportunity to the one she’s currently doing, albeit with a guaranteed higher viewership.
  • Dehenna Davison MP – Currently Tory MP for Bishop Auckland, though she took SW1 by surprise when announcing she’d be standing down at the next election. Has already presented a show on the channel, and has proved she’s more than willing to be a thorn in the side of the Tory government.
  • Matt Chorley – The top choice for all those TimesRadio listeners who feel continually disappointed they only get to hear his lilting tones rather than see the face they’re coming from. Could even appear on the channel’s humorous paper review show to nick some jokes for his next ‘stand up’ tour.

Good luck…

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Mirror Pol-Ed: Runners & Riders

The Mirror’s Political Editor job is a much-prized title for any high-flying, ambitious and – most importantly – pro-Labour political hacks. Now Pippa’s moved aside in favour of The Guardian – a paper in need of a regular SW1 scoop-getter – Guido’s turned his attention to who might be next in line for the star prize. Runners and riders currently within the Mirror family are highlighted in red…

  • Ben Glaze – An obvious choice, has played the role of Pippa’s Deputy Political Editor for five and a half years. Is overly familiar with The Mirror’s political campaign line after racking up seven and a half years of reporting for them, though doesn’t spring to mind as someone who could easily step into Crerar’s large scoop-getting shoes. 
  • Mikey Smith – The Mirror’s current Whitehall Correspondent, almost nine years at the paper. Resentfully liked by some in Tory circles for his wry, ankle-bitey writing. A particular fan of sleaze and government transparency scoops. Would he struggle to juggle the new job’s extra hours with his imminent fatherhood?
  • Rachel Wearmouth – Senior political correspondent at The Mirror, set to join the New Statesman as deputy political editor later this year. Guido reckons she could easily be persuaded to drop those plans if offered Pippa’s job. Andrew Marr wouldn’t be happy…
  • Dan Bloom – Mirror’s online political editor. Racks up a decent number of exclusives. Spoken highly of by colleagues.
  • Keir Mudie Deputy News Editor, Sunday Mirror and People. Prolific opinion writer for the website. Could the Mirror go down the BBC route of choosing an internal transfer?
  • Lizzy Buchan – The online Mirror’s Deputy Political Editor, albeit for the relatively short stint of less than two years. Previously of the Independent, PA and The Scotsman. Seemingly strong on Labour scoops. A potential front runner if the paper wants to promote a woman from within. 
  • Dan Sabbagh – The Guardian’s defence and security editor, previously the Guardian’s national news editor with major experience covering Brexit from 2018, currently focusing on Ukraine. A former Labour Councillor and communications guy for Oona King…
  • Jess Elgot – The banter option if The Mirror wants to get their own back at The Guardian for poaching Pippa. Currently The Guardian’s chief political correspondent. Guido’s not sure what would allure her away from her current job… more money?
  • Gabriel Pogrund – Certainly a promotion within Progrund’s ability, one of the best hacks of his age group with consistently big exclusives for the Sunday Times as their Whitehall correspondent. A seemingly endless contact book for Labour stories, with a book already under his belt last year with Patrick Maguire, detailing Corbyn’s slow-motion car crash in 2019. Would presumably have to come with a significant pay rise to tempt him over…
  • Patrick Maguire – The Times’ Red Box editor of two years, with two years at the leftie New Statesman before that. Similar to Pogrund has extensive Labour networks and a good writer at that. Or is his eye on the soon-to-be vacant Politico Playbook editor vacancy? 
  • Emily Ashton – Politics reporter at Bloomberg. Another major contender if The Mirror is concerned about the gender make-up of their team. There is that old problem of hacks struggling to part from Bloomberg’s exceptionally deep pockets…
  • Lewis Goodall – Left-wing enough, might have an eye on a non-screen role these days as his hair disappears. Would make for excellent preparation ahead of a possible head of communications job in Wes Streeting’s government…
  • Matt Chorley – It’s a thought.
  • Tom Newton Dunn – should the TV career come to an imminent end he would have useful transferable tabloid skills from his time as political editor of The Sun.
  • Ben Riley-Smith – The Daily Telegraph’s political editor is known to be looking for a transfer after missing out on The Guardian pol-ed job.
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Batley & Spen Runners & Riders

Now that the date for the Batley & Spen by-election is set for July 1, Guido’s taken a look at the runners and riders in the upcoming contest. There are five confirmed candidates, with local independent heavyweight Paul Halloran still yet to declare:

  • LabourKim Leadbeater – Sister of Jo Cox. Very limited political experience, having only joined the party a month ago, and only after Labour ignored their own rules to let her run. Initially seen within the party as the safest bet. There’s now a bit of a feeling on the ground that it’s a ‘cynical’ move on Labour’s part. 
  • ConservativesRyan Stephenson – Chairman of the West Yorkshire Conservatives, and Leeds councillor. First entered politics in 2016. Claims he’s “a fervent campaigner for the protection of the Green Belt and of the natural environment”. If elected, he’d be the first Tory candidate in the constituency for 25 years. 
  • LibDems: Jo Conchie – TV producer and director. Recent credits include “Bargain Brits on Benefits” and “Bargain-Loving Brits in Blackpool”. Clearly the LibDems think the people of Batley & Spen love electing TV stars…
  • Workers Party of Britain: George Galloway – A familiar face to co-conspirators. Claims he’s ‘standing against Sir Keir Starmer’, and that it’s ‘curtains‘ for Starmer if Labour lose the seat. Fears within Labour that he’ll capitalise on the Israel-Palestine conflict to siphon enough votes away from Leadbeater to tip the balance. There’s a high Muslim population in the constituency, so it’s not impossible.
  • Yorkshire Party: Corey Robinson – A local medical research engineer. Obviously not a significant player in the race, although the party did come third in the West Yorkshire Mayoral election. Managing to beat the Greens and the LibDems…
  • Reform / Reclaim (?): Paul Halloran – Still yet to declare. Stood in 2019 for the Heavy Woollen District Independents and took 12% of the vote. Could be the Tories’ kingmaker. Speculated to have had discussions with Tice and the Reform Party. Pictured yesterday with Laurence Fox, sparking rumours he’ll ultimately side with Reclaim…
  • UKIP think a working-class area deserves Jack Thomson “a young working-class man himself who understands the every-day struggles that real people face in their everyday lives.”

The bookies currently, surprisingly, make the Tories favourites to win

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Unite General Secretary Runners & Riders

The battle to lead Unite is now well underway, with the four top candidates for General Secretary fighting to control the ideological direction of Labour’s biggest and most influential paymaster. Under McCluskey’s leadership, the union lurched leftward, pumping £3 million into Labour’s 2019 campaign and working in close alignment with the Corbyn team. He’s been far more critical of Starmer – claiming the party now ‘lacks authenticity‘ and is heading for “the dustbin of history” – so the upcoming election is seen as a chance for Starmer to wrest influence away from Labour’s far left. It’s also an opportunity to mend the union’s image, after McCluskey faced calls for an inquiry into the spiralling costs of a hotel contract awarded to his personal friend. Team Starmer will be paying close attention to the results…

Nominations close on 11 June, with the results to be declared on 26 August. 174 nominations are required to secure a place on the ballot, up from 50 in the previous contest – a change which McCluskey’s opponents claims is a “stitch-up” by the leadership. In any case, here are the runners and riders for the job:

Steve Turner – One of the union’s current assistant general secretaries. Sources tell Guido he’s the favourite to win unless Gerard Coyne manages to clinch enough nominations, which could swing it in Coyne’s favour. Just about managed to win the endorsement of the United Left faction of the union (narrowly beating Howard Beckett), so has the momentum on his side for the moment. Owen Jones also backs him, although Jones has since deleted his endorsement tweet because he wanted to ‘phrase it differently‘. Sits on the left of the union, though claims he has “no interest a public spat with the leader of the Labour Party.” Starmer’s team think they could work with him if necessary.

Howard Beckett – The troublemaker. Made the headlines today after putting out a tweet calling for the deportation of Priti Patel. The far-left’s favourite candidate. Backed by Skwawkbox, Socialist Telly, and The Canary. Led a left-wing walkout of Labour’s NEC last year after Starmer blocked the nomination of Corbynista Ian Murray to the chairmanship. Also supported cutting Unite’s donations to Labour by £150,000, with speculation that he could move to make further cuts should he win. Starmer’s nightmare candidate, though today’s headlines could derail him. 

Sharon Graham – Looking to break the glass ceiling and become the first female general secretary. Positioning herself on the industrial wing of the union by leading a campaign for Amazon workers’ rights. Runs Unite’s Organisation and Leverage unit. Keen to distance herself from internal Labour disputes. Seen as a rising star within the union, though unlikely to take the top prize this time.

Gerard Coyne – The “right-winger” of the race, at least in union terms. Starmer’s man for the job. Narrowly lost to McCluskey for the role back in 2017, 41.5% to McCluskey’s 45.4%. According to his supporters, he already has over 200 nominations, which could make the race against Turner a competitive one. Splitting the left vote between the other three candidates could work to Coyne’s advantage under FPTP…

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Liaison Committee Chair: Runners & Riders

Hallelujah, Sarah Wollaston is out. Guido’s just about finished celebrating and realised this leaves a hole at the top of one of Parliament’s most important select committees. Boris dodged his last Liaison Committee appearance and whether or not he can get out of another one, House of Commons rules mean a new scrutiniser-in-chief is required within a month of the general election, and according to the Hansard Society are “traditionally members of a/the governing party, experienced select committee members or (since 2010 serving) chairs, and male.” Guido brings you the runners and riders:

  • Bill Cash – Chair of the European Scrutiny Committee for 9 years. Loved by Brexiteers, hated by remainers; luckily for Cash there’s a lot more of them in Parliament now, unfortunately the committee may conspire to block
  • Damian Collins – Chair of the DCMS Committee for 3 years. Cadwalladr’s pick for the role and overt anti-Vote Leave man, although he did back Boris so a streak of careerism remains. Might prove one of the less friendly opponents Boris could face.
  • David T.C. Davies – Chair of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee for 9 years. Staunch Eurosceptic. Given Boris’s victory in Wales he could appreciate the renewed focus, but the loss of Alun Cairns before the election could make for a sticky issue
  • Robert Halfon – Chair of the Education Committee for only 2 years. Former Minister without Portfolio and Deputy Chair of the Tory Party. Once described by George Osborne as the most expensive backbencher in Parliament. Independent-mindedness is often a positive attribute so could be a popular choice despite his limited select committee career.
  • Sir Bernard Jenkin – Chair of the Constitution Committee for 9 years. As we come out of the most testing time in British politics for our constitution, Bernard’s active role in sticking it to Bercow amongst others has been prominent. A famous Brexiteer, but younger and more active than Cash.
  • Julian Lewis – Chair of the Defence Committee for 4 years. Another Spartan Brexiteer and described by the Telegraph as “one of the most vigorous rightwingers in the Commons”. Could be seen as the dinosaur candidate due to his opposition to LGBT education and refusal to use email.
  • Maria Miller – Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee for 4 years. The only woman on our list, so perhaps MPs will want to continue with Wollaston’s break from tradition in tearing down barriers. She’s also one of the few remainers, however backed Raab for Tory leader.
  • Bob Neil – Chair of the Justice Select Committee for 4 years. There are already rumblings about Boris’s plans for reform of the courts that could prove to be contentious, so he could play a big role over the coming parliament anyhow
  • Tom Tugendhat – Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee for 2 years. Big name, pretty popular. Young, former military – very strong case to put forward.
  • Charles Walker – Chair of the Procedure Committee for 7 years. Also chairman of the 1922 committee. Big Mayite so maybe not the homme de jour of the Boris brigade.
  • Neil Parish – Chair of the DEFRA Committee for 4 years.

Bear in mind the selectorate is made up of the electorate…

UPDATE: A co-conspirator points out David T.C. Davies is out of the running after being made a minister

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Scottish Tory Leadership Runners and Riders

Following Ruth’s unexpected decision to step down as leader of the Scottish Tories this morning, politicians north of the border are now be on manoeuvres to replace her. As ever Guido brings you the runners and riders:

  • Murdo Fraser – 3/1. Ran against Davidson back in 2011 on a platform of formally separating the Scottish Tories from the main UK party – a proposal that may be more popular now that it was eight years ago. Also wants a fully federal UK.
  • Jackson Carlaw – 5/1. Stood in for Davidson during her maternity leave from September 2018 to earlier this year, in what turned out to be a far less quiet period in British politics than he’d been expecting. One Scottish Tory source told Guido he did a good job.
  • Adam Tomkins – 6/1. A former lecturer at KCL and fellow at Oxford, researching (appropriately enough) constitutional theory. He was appointed as an unpaid adviser to the then Scottish Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell during the passage of the Scotland Bill through Parliament.
  • Donald Cameron – 8/1. Harrow and Oxford-educated, Donald unsuccessfully contested Westminster elections twice before being elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2016, and appointed Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and the Scottish Tories’ 2021 Policy Co-ordinator.
  • Alister Jack – 12/1. The National is reporting that the Scottish Tories may change their structure, with a separate Holyrood group leader and a Westminster leader, drawn from the Scottish Tory MP contingent. In which case the newly-appointed Secretary of State for Scotland is the obvious contender – although Colin Clark and Liam Kerr‘s names are also being floated. A Guido source however says there’s “next to no chance” of them selecting an MP as leader.
  • Annie Wells – 12/1. A former M & S retail manager of 12 years, Wells was suspended from Holyrood in 2018 – two years after assuming office – for leaking an embargoed committee report. She is a single mum as well as an out lesbian.
  • Maurice Golden – 12/1. The current Chief Whip of the Scottish Tories and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, which is appropriate after working for Zero Waste Scotland for five years.

This leadership competition will be ruthless…

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