London Playbook: Dust settles on migration — Boris psychodrama — The art of the political interview

London Playbook: Dust settles on migration — Boris psychodrama — The art of the political interview
Опубликовано: Friday, 26 May 2023 06:30

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Good Friday morning. This is Eleni Courea. Rosa Prince will be back next week.


IT’S THE FIRST DAY OF RECESS … and for first time since the local elections, Tory MPs are set to spend an extended period of time in their areas — hearing voters’ views on things like (record-breaking) legal migration figures, (groaning) NHS waiting lists and the (stubbornly high) cost of living.

So the danger is: That the parliamentary party returns to Westminster in 10 days’ time in a more mutinous mood.

First task for Downing Street: Quell internal concerns about the record levels of legal migration in 2022 as measured by the ONS. A Cabinet minister tells the Daily Mail: “We promised to take back control but it looks like it’s completely out of control. We are letting too many people in.”

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The good news is: The reaction from right-wing papers isn’t nearly as painful as it could have been, with the Mail, Telegraph and Sun all splashing on other topics and the Express going on PM Rishi Sunak’s promise to bring numbers down.

The bad news is: The Mail runs a lengthy leader column accusing ministers of “cynical manoeuvring” on the migration stats by allowing “truly dire predictions that net migration was set to surge past 700,000 to circulate, in the hope that voters would feel grateful if the actual number was lower. Do they honestly think we’re idiots?” The paper adds, in a probably unintentional rhyming couplet, that “no amount of news manipulation could spare Sunak from humiliation.” (Actually, judging from the front pages, it looks like the spin paid off).

As the dust settles: Some concerned Tory MPs say the government hasn’t gone far enough and want it to strengthen restrictions on students and introduce higher salary thresholds to bring migration levels down. The i’s Arj Singh reports that the Home Office (still) wants to see salary thresholds raised and a government source tells him it could be revisited in the fall.

THIS WON’T HELP: Some unlucky Tory MPs will have to break the news to their constituents that new hospitals Boris Johnson promised for their areas won’t be built until after 2030. Some of the delayed projects are in marginal seats including Lewes in Sussex. A marginal-seat Tory told the Guardian: “Voters heard the promises we made, but they won’t believe it until they see it.”

ALSO HEADING TO HIS PATCH: Sunak is spending Friday in his Yorkshire constituency and will be staying there over the weekend with his family. He’ll be back in Downing Street on Monday.

Reading material for the train (or helicopter): Fraser Nelson writes in the Telegraph that Sunak thinks voters are more troubled by the small boats issue than legal migration. “So in a conflict between the two, he’ll go for growth,” he argues. “The immigration numbers are embarrassing, but a recession would be more so. And where is the political threat? All kinds of parties stood in this month’s local elections in England and the anti-immigration backlash was noticeable by its absence.

WHILE WE’RE DISCUSSING SMALL BOATS: The Guardian’s Rajeev Syal has been leaked impact assessment documents marked “urgent” relating to the Illegal Migration Bill going through the Lords. They reveal that ministers plan to remove 3,163 asylum seekers per month from January — and warn they could face legal action if they don’t take steps to ensure legal aid is available to refugees, recommending an increase in fees for lawyers of at least 15 percent. The story splashes the paper. Figures published Thursday suggest there is a long way to clear the asylum backlog, as the Times’ Matt Dathan points out.

Meanwhile: The Sun’s Harry Cole and the Mail’s Sue Reid report that the U.K. Border Force rescued 50 people in a dinghy on the Channel after they refused help from a French vessel (the Sun splashes the story). And least 4,300 Afghans who are entitled to resettlement in the U.K. are still waiting to arrive, the i newspaper reports.

ON THE LABOUR SIDE: The net migration figures exposed conflicting narratives in the party over immigration. On LBC on Thursday, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper declined three times to repeat London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s description of Labour as a “pro-immigration party.”


IT REALLY DOES FEEL LIKE ANOTHER PLANET … as well as a whole other century if you think back to when Boris Johnson was presiding over warring camps in Downing Street.

Want to go back there? No? Nonetheless that whole affair is far from over. Team Johnson has now taken to issuing veiled public threats at unnamed former colleagues whom it accuses of orchestrating a campaign to damage him (a cynic might say it’s hardly necessary given the damage he’s done to himself).

In their own words: Johnson’s team said in a statement to Playbook: “We are aware of a briefing campaign that is trying to deliberately manufacture false claims about events at Chequers and Downing Street. This is being run by former advisers who are now willing to say anything about Boris in an attempt to discredit him, even if it is a total lie. These individuals should watch themselves carefully as there are revelations about their own conduct to be made.”

Of course: Given the series of Downing Street “resets” and churn in Johnson’s No. 10 team over his three years as PM it’s hard to know where to start.

Reminder: Johnson’s latest problems came about not through secretive briefings from mysterious ex-advisers, but because senior civil servants took one look at his pandemic-era diary and felt compelled to pass it to the police.

DEADLINE LOOMS: The Times’ Henry Zeffman reports that BoJo has until the end of next week to explain to the Commons privileges committee — which is almost done investigating whether he intentionally or recklessly misled MPs — why he believes he did not break rules at Chequers and at previously undisclosed events in Downing Street.

Relatedly: Ministers pulled a motion to suspend lockdown-breaking Margaret Ferrier as an MP because Johnson’s allies were preparing to block it, standards committee Chair Chris Bryant told the Guardian’s Ben Quinn. Quinn reports Johnson and co. were worried it could set a precedent if he faced a similar vote post-privileges committee report. Johnson’s spokesperson declined to comment.

IT’S BEEN A BUSY 24 HOURS FOR TEAM BORIS, judging from today’s papers. The Times’ Steve Swinford reports that Johnson was planning to publish a photograph of a family lunch in the No. 10 garden that was referred by the Cabinet Office to police, to show it was compliant with “the rule of six.”

The only problem was: The picture actually depicted Johnson’s sister, late mother and his son Wilfred close to each other at a time when two-meter social distancing guidance was in place, Swinford reports. Johnson decided not to publish it. His spokesman told the Times: “All these events were completely lawful based on advice from lawyers. No restrictions were broken on this occasion or others.” A Johnson ally insisted to Playbook that “the teacup in which the usual suspects are trying to manufacture storms gets ever smaller.”

FIGHTBACK: The Express reports Johnson’s allies are accusing Cabinet Office figures of wasting police time — which ironically is punishable by a fixed penalty notice.


INSIDE THE BLOB: Relations between ministers and Whitehall are near rock-bottom, my colleagues Esther Webber, Dan Bloom and Tim Ross report after speaking to civil servants past and present. “I don’t think we have ever had a government that has criticized the civil service so publicly or so often as this one,” a serving senior official laments. “People have found it really hard to take.” In turn there is a “real concern” among senior civil servants and ministers that officials are increasingly speaking out, the same person said. “People are taking matters into their own hands.”

All the same: Those in Whitehall dispute any idea of a coordinated operation. “I don’t think there is a conspiracy somewhere where people are meeting up in the Atheneum [a London club]. It definitely isn’t. There is no central control or discipline,” a former permanent secretary tells Esther and co. On the contrary, a few officials say, their colleagues are becoming more cautious because of their collective professionalism being called into question.

BoJo hangover: Many associate the current frictions between Whitehall and Westminster as a legacy of the Johnson era and are hopeful of either a gradual reset under Sunak or a more emphatic one via a change of government. “Stories about the ‘blob’ are much easier to let wash over you when you know it comes from the backbenchers rather than government ministers,” one Whitehall official comments.

Johnson’s spokesman shot back: “In reality, Mr Johnson had an excellent working relationship with civil servants.”

BLOB GOES GLOBAL: Ministers fear that the WHO could impose lockdowns on the U.K. in a future pandemic, Tony Diver reports in a front-page Telegraph story. Under proposals for a Pandemic Preparedness Treaty, member countries could be obliged to follow WHO orders when responding to pandemics. Six Tory MPs led by Esther McVey have written to the FCDO warning the agency is trying to “transition from an advisory organisation to a controlling international authority.”

In response: International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell told Diver the government would block any law that prevents the U.K. from setting its own health policy.


STARMER IN SCOTLAND: U.K. Labour leader Keir Starmer and Scottish leader Anas Sarwar will visit Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, to meet business owners and voters and argue that only Labour can deliver change in Scotland. He’ll record a pool clip mid-morning as well as other interviews.

ANGE’S AIRPODS: Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has coughed up £139 for a new pair of Apple Airpods after being approached by the Sun, which spotted she had made an expenses claim for them. Her spokesperson told Noa Hoffman that “IPSA has been reimbursed accordingly.” A Tory source told the paper Rayner “only paid the money back because she has had to face the music.”

TARGETING THE TARGET: Labour’s aim to make the U.K. the fastest-growing G7 economy is “daft,” crossbench peer Jim O’Neill — who has advised Labour on business relations lately — told the Power Test podcast. O’Neill, a former Tory Treasury minister, said it was a “silly” target because “there’s another six countries you can’t do anything about” — but also that “it’s not a really credible sign of ambition” because most of them don’t grow very fast. Case in point: Germany tipped into recession on Thursday (more on the repercussions of that here).

Tax raid claims: Treasury analysis seen by the Telegraph’s Tony Diver suggests Labour’s tax raids on investment funds and non-doms would cost the U.K. more than £350 million a year because the rich would flee the country. A Labour spokesperson told the paper that “if the government is bandying around new figures, they should publish their working.”

COALITION OF CALM: Voters quite like the idea of a Lib-Lab coalition, according to polling by More in Common. On the other hand a Redfield & Wilton poll written up by the Mail put the Tories ahead of Labour in the red wall for the first time during Sunak’s premiership.

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PARLIAMENT: In recess until June 5.

CRASH ARREST: The man driving the car which crashed into the Downing Street gates at about 4.20 p.m. Thursday has been arrested. Whitehall has reopened to traffic, the police cordon has been taken down and the car removed from the scene. No one was hurt and the incident is not being treated as terror-related. More from the BBC.

NORTHERN GONGS: Rishi Sunak has instructed officials to give more honors to people in underrepresented areas outside of London and the southeast, the Times’ Oli Wright reports. He also wants awards given to civil servants who have saved taxpayer money rather than based on length of service.

SIX-FIGURE SCHMOOZING: The government spent over £260,000 on Rishi Sunak’s “Business Connect” event with top CEOs last month, the Mirror’s John Stevens reports. The sum was published in an answer to a parliamentary question.

ESSENTIAL LISTENING: On this week’s Westminster Insider podcast, my colleague Ailbhe Rea examines the art of the political interview. Today presenter and ex-BBC pol ed Nick Robinson opens up about what’s going through his head during an intense Q&A … how politicians are persuaded to appear on the Today program … and what happened behind the scenes when he told Boris Johnson to “stop talking” — which he said he regrets.

Behind the screen: Rob Burley, who has worked with the greats of British broadcasting including Andrew Neil, Andrew Marr, Jeremy Paxman, Emily Maitlis and now Beth Rigby at Sky News, takes Ailbhe through the greatest political interviews in history — and what Paxo was thinking when he asked Michael Howard the same question 12 times. And former Westminster Hour doyenne Carolyn Quinn reveals her own interviewing secrets.

She said, she said: Andrea Leadsom and Rachel Sylvester each separately recall Leadsom’s “motherhood” interview that derailed her 2016 Tory leadership campaign, which crowned Theresa May as prime minister. In a toe-curling walk down memory lane, Leadsom admits she was “naive” but tells Ailbhe that Sylvester’s interview “had its own agenda” and was “skewed to winning a big political hit for the journalist.” For her part Sylvester remembers finding Leadsom’s comments “a little bit mean.” “I’d just written down what she said and put it in the paper,” she tells Ailbhe. “That’s journalism, that’s not an agenda.”

INCIDENTALLY: The reviews are in for Rishi Sunak’s sofa chat with ITV’s This Morning. Quentin Letts writes in the Times that Sunak was “effortlessly sugary” as “his ear, big as a patissier’s palmier, glistened under the studio lights and the hair was scraped into the neatest of partings.” The Guardian’s John Crace notes that “there was no time to discuss the cost of living crisis. There were far more important things to cover. Like Jilly Cooper. Did he really like her bonkathons? Ooh yes, said Sunak, not altogether convincingly … Try and imagine him reading the smutty bits of Riders on the beach. You can’t, can you?” (Or maybe you don’t want to.)


CASH ACCESS: Ministers have decided to accept an amendment to guarantee minimum levels of free access to cash via the Financial Services and Markets Bill, the Express reports. Campaigners and MPs have long been calling for action with no success. The consumer campaign group Which? said it was “delighted.”

PENSIONS PROPOSALS: Ministers are considering reforming the government-backed Pension Protection Fund to turn it into a vehicle that can invest billions in British businesses, the FT’s pensions supremo Josephine Cumbo reports. FT economics ed Chris Giles gives the idea short shrift.

TRIAL AND ERROR: Tens of thousands more patients will be signed up for clinical trials with ministers promising drug companies better access to the NHS to expand the economy and develop cutting-edge treatments as part of a £650 million package to boost life sciences (which was trailed in the FT.) The Times splash has more.

BINNED BILL: The BBC, the Mail, the Times and the Guardian all cover backlash to the government ditching a bill that would have strengthened protections for animals over fears it would be forced into a vote on hunting. Ministers said the measures would be delivered in different ways.

FUNDING FORMULA: Leveling-up Britain risks failing unless the government provides funding which allows councils to deliver economic growth for their areas, a leveling-up, housing and communities report argues. It says DLUHC has limited strategic oversight and failed to coordinate funds across departments — the report splashes the Yorkshire Post.


TOURIST TROUBLES: Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf will unveil a sleepover tax for anyone staying in Scotland in tourist accommodation. The Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill gives councils the power to impose a tax on stays in any overnight accommodation. Such taxes are common around the world. The Telegraph has a write-up.

BILL SOMEBODY: The EU expressed “deep concerns” about the U.K.’s decision to demand as many as 141,000 European nationals pay for NHS treatment and refund welfare benefits. The demand came after they were refused settled status due to the government’s failure to update its online records. The FT has the details.

UKRAINE UPDATE: Russia started moving nuclear weapons into Belarusian territory after the two countries struck a deal. Moscow announced it was sending weapons in response to a “sharp escalation” on its Western border. The Times has more.

No thaw: British officials confirmed the U.K. is likely to keep Russian state assets immobilized for some time after the war in Ukraine ends and certainly until Moscow pays compensation for damage it has caused. The Guardian has the details.

Better late than never: MPs on Thursday voted in favor of recognizing the 1930s Holodomor famine which engulfed Ukraine as a genocide. The famine, which killed millions of Ukrainians, was widely believed to be man-made by the Soviet leadership. ITV News has a write-up.

TURKEY DECIDES: Turkey goes to the polls on Sunday for the presidential runoff election between incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and challenger Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. Erdoğan won 49.5 percent in the first round and was endorsed by third-placed candidate Sinan Oğan, making him a favorite to win a third term. POLITICO’s Turkey election hub has the details.

KEMI ON TOUR: Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch is in the Gulf and will hold a meeting today in Abu Dhabi with Khaldoon Al Mubarak, CEO of Mubadala and senior adviser to the UAE president. They’ll discuss the prospect of a Gulf Cooperation Council Free Trade Agreement and other U.K. investments.

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Shadow International Trade Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds broadcast (on his birthday): LBC News (7.10 a.m.) … GMB (7.25 a.m.) … Sky News (8.05 a.m.) … Times Radio (8.20 a.m.) … TalkTV (8.30 a.m.) … GB News (8.50 a.m.).

Today program: Economist Mohamed A. El-Erian (7.30 a.m.) … Iain Livingstone, chief constable of Police Scotland (7.50 a.m.).

Also on Sky News Breakfast: Tory peer James O’Shaughnessy (7.30 a.m.) … Former Chancellor Norman Lamont (8.30 a.m.).

Nick Ferrari at Breakfast: Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Wayne King (7.40 a.m.) … Former Commanding General of the United States Army Europe Ben Hodges (8.20 a.m.) … Former Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind (8.50 a.m.).

Also on Times Radio breakfast: Leveling up, housing and communities select committee Chair Clive Betts (8.05 a.m.) … Science Minister George Freeman (8.35am)


POLITICO UK: The Tories fought the blob — the blob won.

Daily Express: Rishi — I get it! You want migration down.

Daily Mail: Will anyone stop these eco-clowns?

Daily Mirror: No control no compassion.

Daily Star: Invasion of the monster jellyfish.

Financial Times: Ministers look at reshaping pensions lifeboat fund to give boost to business.

i: U.K. population set to overtake France for first time on record.

Metro: Unis told — get out of migration business.

The Daily Telegraph: Mortgage rates shoot up amid bond chaos.

The Guardian: Revealed — Braverman plan to deport 3,000 asylum seekers each month.

The Independent: What’s the point of Suella Braverman?

The Times: Bonus for GPs if patients take part in clinical trials.

The Sun (not online): French rescuers? Non merci!


The Economist: The haunting — non-fiction.


EU Confidential: The team discuss the EU’s attempt to combat foreign influence with the European Commission’s special adviser on foreign interference Ivana Karásková.

Westminster Insider: POLITICO’s Ailbhe Rea examines the art of the political interview with guests including Today program presenter Nick Robinson and Tory MP Andrea Leadsom.

Plus 6 of the best political podcasts to listen to this weekend:

Encompass: Paul Adamson interviews Europe Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Sophia Besch about Germany’s changing role in the world.

Hacks & Flaks: The team are joined by comedian and impressionist Matt Forde to analyze the importance of political satire.

Inside Whitehall: Jonathan Gullis and Jamie Starkie speak to former Home Secretary Priti Patel about how to get legislation through parliament and into law.

Rock & Roll Politics with Steve Richards: Richards is in conversation with author and columnist Rafael Behr about his book and what the center ground means.

The Bunker: Andrew Harrison speaks to London Mayor Sadiq Khan about his book and the controversial expansion of ULEZ.

The News Agents: The team talk to former SpAd Cleo Watson about her book and life in Downing Street.


WESTMINSTER WEATHER: Sunny with highs of 18C. We’re set for that rare thing — a sunny bank holiday weekend.

MEA CULPA: Ed Davey on Wednesday visited Loxley, which is a proposed gas drilling site — not oil drilling, as Playbook wrote — in the Surrey Hills.

Another one: Thursday’s PM quoted a claim that net migration would’ve been higher if it wasn’t for a new methodology. Dan’s since checked in with the ONS, which said the new methodology has revised previous figures up, not down.

IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING: The “nooks and crannies” in parliament and Chequers provide “ample opportunity” for secret romps between MPs and aides of the kind detailed in Cleo Watson’s debut novel “Whips,” she told Chopper’s Politics podcast. In one scene of the book, a couple sneaks upstairs while a (fictional) beleaguered female PM is addressing MPs she’s invited to Chequers for a “please don’t sack me” BBQ.

One less nook: Incidentally Plymouth council has felled a bunch of trees near a shelter to discourage people from having sex under them.

MATCH REPORT: The Commons Old Boys Cricket Club played No10 Cricket Club in Regent’s Park on Thursday evening, with the former staffers winning a closely fought match with the penultimate ball.

Bowl for bowl: The No. 10 team, led by Jack Airey and supported by cross-governmental colleagues including DHSC SpAd Robert Ede, put on a total of 98 from their 20 overs, limited in particular by the bowling of the Home Builders Federation’s David O’Leary with three wickets, and Barratt Developments’ Guy Bartlett. The Commons Old Boys made hard work of chasing the total, but thanks to contributions from Guy Matthews, the British Ports Association’s Richard Ballantyne and Brunswick’s Ruan Tremayne, managed to scrape home under the watchful eye of Henham Strategy’s Nick King.

Coming up: Future games against HM Treasury and the Chatty Bats await for the Commons Old Boys XI.

DUBS TURNS 90: Politicians, advisers, campaigners, trade unionists and journalists gathered to celebrate the 90th birthday of Labour peer Alf Dubs in the House of Lords Cholmondeley Room last night. There were warm speeches from Dubs’ oldest friend who, like him, came to the U.K. as a child refugee … his daughter … and his political adviser Candida Jones, who read out wishes from Neil Kinnock, Tony Blair and Keir Starmer, and revealed that among his family and friends, Alf is called “Dumbledubs.” Guests paid tribute to his Dubs amendment and his contribution to peace in Northern Ireland as a minister in the NIO during the Troubles.

Spotted clinking glasses and enjoying canapés: Labour Lords leader Angela Smith and peers Frances O’Grady, Sue Hayman, Sonny Leong and Glenys Thornton … former Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow … Labour MPs Margaret Beckett, Tulip Siddiq and Marsha de Cordova … and more.

In his own speech: Dubs mentioned that, like many politicians, he has received some abuse during his career — and brought along his favorite note, which read simply: “Are you still alive?”

Remember him? Former Commons Speaker John Bercow also made a speech — and Playbook’s mole in the room said he “hasn’t had a platform for so long he was relishing every second of it.” There was an awkward silence when Bercow said “the best thing about Alf is that he has no ego” — which did then lead Bercow to concede jovially “I know what you are all thinking.”

ALSO SPOTTED: At the launch of the Labour Creatives Network in the North at ITV’s new Coronation Street visitors’ center, hosted by Corrie star Sair Khan … Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner and shadow culture team Lucy Powell, Steph Peacock, Barbara Keeley and Jeff Smith … Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds … Labour MPs Andrew Gwynne, Chris Bryant and Rebecca Long Bailey … U.K. Music chair and former deputy Labour leader Tom Watson

And breathe … ITV Chief Executive Carolyn McCall … Chairman Andy Cosslett … Academy Director Sonny Hanley … ITV comms and public affairs chiefs Paul Moore, Jane Luca and Jamie White … Coronation Street stars Patti Clare, Julia Goulding, Peter Gunn, and Jane Hazlegrove … Greater Manchester Night Time Economy Adviser Sacha Lord … Labour Council Leaders for Manchester and Trafford Bev Craig and Tom Ross … and many, many more.

NEW GIG: Caitlin Prowle, a political adviser to Yvette Cooper, is leaving to become a political officer at GMB in August.

JOB ADS: The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is hiring an economist … and the Telegraph wants a deputy head of editorial SEO.

COMING UP: Cabinet Ministers Penny Mordaunt and Gillian Keegan are among the big political names lined up set to address the Centre for Policy Studies’ Margaret Thatcher Conference on Opportunity at the Guildhall on Monday June 12. Treasury Minister Andrew Griffith, the Resolution Foundation’s Torsten Bell and U.S. pollster Frank Luntz are also billed to speak.

Sound like your thing? Tickets are still available here.

NEW POD ALERT: Jon Sopel and Emily Maitlis will front The News Agents: USA, charting the biggest stories across the pond ahead of next year’s presidential election. It launches on June 20.

IS THIS A DAGGER WHICH I SEE BEFORE ME?: Leveling-Up Secretary Michael Gove appears on Radio 4’s Taking Issue with Shakespeare at 1.45 p.m., claiming the Bard was a small-c conservative.

Also listen to: Bridey Addison-Child talk about the experiences of LGBTQI+ people navigating the U.K. asylum system in Radio 4’s Burden of Proof at 11 a.m … and historian Phil Tinline’s Conspiracies: The Secret Knowledge series concludes on Sunday at 1.30 p.m. on Radio 4.

WEEKEND FILM CLUB: Casablanca — which Noah reckons might be the greatest film of all time — is on BBC Two on Saturday at 2 p.m.

CLOSING NIGHT: Dancing at Lughnasa by the late Brian Friel closes on Saturday at the Olivier Theater at 7.30 p.m.

BIRTHDAYS: Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn … Former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng … Shadow Trade Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds … Scottish Deputy First Minister Shona Robison Broadcaster and former Defense Secretary Michael Portillo turns 70 … Tory peer Michael Bates … Former No. 10 SpAd Chloe Westley … Former Tory MP Neil Parish … Lib Dem peer Jenny Randerson … Independent Conservative peer David Stevens … Former Bloomberg Lobby journo Thomas Penny … U.K. Open Banking’s Clare Ambrosino.

Celebrating over the weekend: Home Office Minister Sarah Dines … Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP David Mundell … Former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron … News U.K. boss Rebekah Brooks … Former Women’s Equality Party leader Sophie Walker … Tory peer Roger Freeman … Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger turns 100 … DESNZ Minister Andrew Bowie … Labour PAd Matt Lavender … National Farming Union President Minette Batters … Former UKIP deputy leader and MEP David Campbell Bannerman … Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani.

PLAYBOOK COULDN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT: My editors Zoya Sheftalovich and Joe Stanley-Smith, reporter Noah Keate and producer Dato Parulava.

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