Donald Macintyre

Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt. As Political Editor and then Chief Political Commentator, he previously covered the John Major and early Tony Blair era. He has written for the Daily Express, Sunday Times, Times and Sunday Telegraph, and Sunday Correspondent. He is the author of Mandelson and the Making of New Labour (2000).

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Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Theresa May’s statement goes down so well, MPs seek encore

Theresa May’s Commons statement went down well today with her own backbenchers. So much so that many of them asked her questions she had already answered. It would have saved time if they had devised a composite: “Does my Right Honourable Friend agree that thanks to the ‘Government’s laser-like focus on keeping British families safe’ (Julian Smith), she has produced a “replacement of pre-existing powers to ensure that criminals do not slip through the net and escape justice” (Andrew Jones), and that “if there is a choice between their children being blown up on the Tube or those people’s conversations being listened to, it is a no-brainer” (Edward Leigh).

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: PM’s medians good but Tory whips up trouble

It’s because David Cameron is usually on top of his brief that it’s always worth seeing him handle questions for which he seems unprepared. Today, sadly for the Opposition, these did not come from Labour. Instead Ed Miliband unwisely returned to the brain-numbing, heart-sinking subject of Those NHS Statistics. Medians at Dawn! Again.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: A journey into a past riddled with loose ends and so-so debate

In a long forgotten short story about time travel, a man wakes up to discover he is in a locked room, empty except for a pile of magazines dated 20 years hence. Unfortunately they are all about gardening, so having frantically leafed  through them he is no wiser about whether the world has landed a man on Mars or fought a third world war. 

Ms May announced that there would be a fresh investigation into what the authorities did with Mr. Dickens' allegations, as well as the 114 files “destroyed, missing or not found”

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: It's high time an inquiry got to the truth of child abuse

You wonder how good we are at official investigations when you have to have a 'review of a review'

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Ed Miliband makes hard work of building his case in speech to business leaders

As this summer’s other advertised attractions at the Science Museum’s IMAX cinema go, it was relatively low key. Not even the most ardent Labour supporter would describe Ed Miliband’s speech to business people today as an “extraordinary journey into the birthplace of the stars and beyond”.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Making mountains out of potholes – that’s an idea!

Potholes do roughly for David Cameron what motorway cones once did for John Major. Removing them is an impossible task to complete, or even do that much about, in the lifetime of a government or three. But talking about removing them appeals directly to the Tory (and these days Ukip-leaning) motorist base.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Does Chris Grayling dream of electric sheep?

There are times when you can’t help wondering if Chris Grayling is a (fairly) sophisticated android. Maybe it’s because of the rather wooden gesture he makes with his forearm and outstretched hand; or maybe the robotic way he says things that sound like they were written by a computer.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Spirit of the war invoked by Tories but these days we can’t even beat a Luxembourger

Joining in the fulsome – and universal – Tory praise for David Cameron’s brave stand in Brussels, the Tory Nadhim Zahawi declared: “It’s called leadership.” (Leadership of whom was less clear, but Zahawi may have been referring to Hungary, who had sportingly ensured the vote was not actually 26 to 1).

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Vince Cable really understands Labour’s language

During Commons questions today Labour's Barry Gardiner, whose default speaking style is a velvety, lachrymose murmur, asked Vince Cable “What are the Government doing to tackle the problems of input resource price spikes and to incentivise infrastructure in the circular economy to cope with that?”

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: David Cameron delivers classic Tony Blair masterclass over the appointment of Andy Coulson

For a man who, as Ed Miliband put it, “will always be remembered as being the first ever occupant of his office who brought a criminal into the heart of Downing Street”, David Cameron seemed almost cheerful as he left PM’s Questions.

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