Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Spot the Gay(s) in the Cabinet, the Doctors in the House, the Case of the Missing Peerage, and More about the Kiss in Basra. (the Insider)

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Spot the Gay(s) in the Cabinet, the Doctors in the House, the Case of the Missing Peerage, and More about the Kiss in Basra. (the Insider)

Article excerpt

The political fallout of Tony Blair's botched cabinet reshuffle continues to cause bad blood at Westminster. In particular, Labour MPs who went out on a limb to support the Iraq war are hopping mad that the back-bench rebel Chris Mullin has been rewarded with ministerial office. "This is a slap in the face for the rest of us," said one disgruntled wannabe minister who got nothing. Mullin left the front bench of his own volition to reclaim the chairmanship of the home affairs select committee and indulge his old-fashioned lef tie conscience. Now he is back in government with an agreeable [pounds sterling]85,000a-year job at the Foreign Office.

I also hear that Alan Milburn's nerve almost cracked at the last minute. The night before the former health secretary's resignation took effect, he nearly caved in to pressure from Downing Street to stay. But long-term ambition got the better of him.

The homosexual community at the Palace is also said to be bereft that, following Nick Brown's departure, there is now no gay member of the cabinet. Maybe they should check their records. They are almost certainly wrong.

Dr John Reid is not a genuine doctor, of course, but one of the vanity-struck House PhDs. Wisely, he is dropping his medical-sounding appellation now that he is Health Secretary, and meets real doctors everyday. His PhD is in economic history from the University of Stirling. He studied how the Kingdom of Dahomey coped with the shift from the slave trade to palm oil. His reticence will not, presumably, spread to Drjack Cunningham, whose doctorate is in some arcane branch of metallurgy. There are some real doctors in the House, among them Labour's Howard Stoate, who still practises as a GP in Kent. At Westminster, his medical services have been most in demand from the 40-something (and more) Labour MPs who want a prescription for Viagra. …

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