The Insider: The Earth Shakes for Blair, and David Davis Turns Left Instead of Right

By Maguire, Kevin | New Statesman (1996), July 11, 2005 | Go to article overview

The Insider: The Earth Shakes for Blair, and David Davis Turns Left Instead of Right


Maguire, Kevin, New Statesman (1996)


Pushed kicking and screaming from a gathering of Labour's shop stewards were Ian "Big Mac" McCartney and Hilary "Rosa Klebb" Armstrong, with Geoff "Buff" Hoon wisely agreeing to depart quietly. The half-dozen backbenchers on the party's parliamentary committee are starting to flex their muscles with the "management". The Labour chairman, Chief Whip and Leader of the Commons were expelled so the gang of six could decide select committee chairmanships, blocking plans to parachute ex-ministers into the [pounds sterling]13,100 posts. Prezza, I learn, wanted his sacked deputy Nick Raynsford to scrutinise his own department. And Gwyneth "Battleaxe" Dunwoody was saved as chair of "men and motors" when even the Transport Secretary, Alistair Darling, backed her reappointment. To the outside world, just a small tremor in Westminster; but a political earthquake for Tony Blair as he loses control of the parliamentary party.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The matinee idol David Davis crossed the floor, as Charles "Chief Super" Clarke's dream of a dog collar for every citizen creates an unholy alliance against ID cards. Davis, blast-furnace-hot favourite with the bookies to become Tory leader, turned left instead of right on entering the Chamber during the second reading of the Identity Cards Bill, to sit a good five minutes on the Labour benches, halfway up the gangway, with that rebel's rebel, Bob Marshall-Andrews. The ex-SAS man's manoeuvring to discuss tactics raised barely an eyebrow, though broken-nosed Davis is rumoured to have been trained to kill with a flick of a hairy lash.

Those lookalike baldies, the Blairite lobbyists Colin Byrne and David Yelland, have gone their separate ways after being mistaken for each other once too often. …

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