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Rats in a Sack: Does One Nation Penny back He Stands Up For Me Lee?

Our digest of the worst of Westminster looks at Lee Anderson, Kelvin MacKenzie, Boris Johnson and more

Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

In the midst of the Lee Anderson race row, it was reported this week that One Nation moderates in the Conservatives are trying to prevent the party from entering full-on Trump mode after the election by seeking out a candidate who they can all rally behind.

One name being touted is Penny Mordaunt, the sword-wielding leader of the House of Commons. And how does Mordaunt feel about the £100,000-a-year GB News presenter known as 30p Lee for his claims that’s how much a nutritious meal costs to prepare?

“I’m sure many in her party like to refer to him as 30p Lee,” Mordaunt said in a response to SNP MP Deirdre Brock in the Commons last year. “But I can tell you his constituents and many people across the whole of the United Kingdom refer to him as He Stands Up For Me Lee.” Just the woman to detoxify the Tory Party!

Christopher Hope, GB News’ political editor, appeared with a ‘breaking news’ banner this week to report that Anderson had held talks with Reform UK leader Richard Tice in a Holiday Inn on the M1 just 24 hours after losing the Tory whip.

All defection speculation aside, this is a reminder of how politics and the media work in 2024 – a GB News journalist reporting that a GB News presenter has met another GB News presenter at a motorway hotel.

That same night Anderson returned to London and immediately posted a picture online of a pint he was enjoying “to get me ready for a long week”.

Not only did Twitter/X users jump on to question how the MP had managed to procure alcohol, given that the capital is apparently under the control of a hardline Islamist cabal, but they were shocked Anderson was quaffing the suspiciously European-looking Madrí (which, fortunately, is brewed in Tadcaster, Yorkshire, has an entirely fabricated Iberian heritage and is as Spanish as Andrew Sachs).

Anderson’s nickname at the colliery where he used to work (above ground), by the way, was Trigger. Either because he was good at triggering arguments or for some other reason…

Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie claims that Rupert Murdoch has decided that Rishi Sunak is “done for” and has “asked London matron Rebekah Brooks to organise ‘interviews’ with potential Tory successors”.

McKenzie wrote on Twitter/X: “Kemi Badenoch is much in favour having already met the Great Man [sic] twice for a cuppa, talking about her vision for the UK once Sunak has left to spend more time with his Green Card.

“Come the Election Murdoch won’t allow The Sun to endorse Starmer as he was DPP when 25 Sun journos were arrested for paying public officials for stories.”

Many of those journos were arrested when they were in effect handed over in order to protect more senior figures at News UK, MacKenzie could have added, but was presumably thwarted by the character limit.

“Dockers 1-0 Hedge Funders. It’s what you like to see,” posted SNP MP David Linden on Twitter/X at the weekend as Liverpool beat Chelsea in the final of what your correspondent still thinks of as the Rumbelows Cup.

Fortunately Linden set the posts so that only accounts he follows or mentioned could reply, so he wasn’t inundated with fans pointing out that Liverpool’s owner, John W Henry, is not a hardy docker, but a, ahem, hedge fund manager with an estimated net worth of $4 billion.

Elsewhere on Twitter/X, Michael Ashcroft – pollster, author and sometime Tory peer – posted a picture of Boris Johnson, who he was seated next to at a conference in Kyiv at the weekend. Johnson looked like he’d just been told it was his round.

“The sheer joy of ⁦@BorisJohnson finding himself sitting next to me in the front row of a conference in Kyiv at the weekend was heartwarming,” Ashcroft wrote sarcastically.

Ashcroft, of course, wrote a biography of Johnson’s future ex-wife, Carrie, which portrayed her as a modern-day Lady Macbeth to whom her hapless husband was in thrall.

“The UK is drifting, unhappy, losing faith in previously respected institutions (like the police), buffeted by extremists (often allowed to run amok), dismayed by decline, angry at the inability of the political class to do anything about it, despairing that the Westminster politico/media bubble pursues an agenda, issues and priorities (look at the obsession with Lee Anderson) which are not most people’s — and had enough of being lectured to by a disconnected, de haut en bas chattering class,” bemoaned Andrew Neil, sometime TV presenter and chair of the Spectator, on Twitter/X this week.

Perhaps Neil may want to consider the CVs of those responsible. The prime minister at the beginning of this parliament was a former Spectator editor, the political secretary to the current PM was until recently the magazine’s political editor and the business secretary (and likely next Tory leader) a former digital director of the magazine. Maybe Neil should focus on what sort of finishing school he’s running!

Conservative-turned-Reclaim-turned independent MP and full-time conspiracy theorist Andrew Bridgen, meanwhile, has been sharing a UN document on social media appearing to show the body’s 2030 mission goals include “the end of the family unit”, “government-raised children” and “the end of private transportation”.

“The UN, WHO and WEF are all working to the same goals and I don’t like them and I don’t think my constituents will either, which is probably why they are not getting much publicity in the legacy media,” he fumed.

Maybe – or maybe it’s because the document is a fake which has been circulating among far-right crackpots in the US for a number of years while being repeatedly debunked. Who knows?

One of the weirdest written questions in Parliament for some time comes courtesy of Matthew Offord, Conservative MP for Hendon, who wrote to Church Commissioner Andrew Selous to ask, without context, “whether the Church has issued guidance on the use of places of worship for silent discos”.

“No guidance has been issued by the National Church Institutions on the use of places of worship for silent discos,” replied Selous. Whither the concern over flock-rockin’ beats?

RIP Maureen Hicks, the former Conservative MP for Wolverhampton North East, who has passed away. Hicks only served five years in Parliament, but in her time there was one of the firmest opponents of plans to televise its proceedings.

“I have visions of general elections being started years in advance,” she told the Commons in 1988. “There would be spectacles leading up to every single local election and by-election. It would be party political matters every day of the week.

“The general public are sick and tired of three weeks of a general election, so politics would be even more of a turn-off than it is now. We want people to want to know about politics that affects their lives; we do not want to put them off even more.”

To be fair, she wasn’t wrong…

Common consensus in Westminster is that, if and when Rishi Sunak leads the Conservatives to defeat in this year’s general election, he’ll dash back to California for a big-paying job in the tech sector.

But might the prime minister opt for matters more spiritual? Your correspondent spotted a sign in the window of a Hackney nail salon for a certain “Master Rishi”, a man who can deal with issues including “enemy problems”, “family argument” and “jealousy” – all things Sunak has plenty of experience of from the Conservative parliamentary party!

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