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: Head girl Theresa May wows the Tory back benches

There may be a couple of new female prefects; but Theresa May is still the head girl. Today she was at her most severe. A chief constable with even a modicum of wit only has to hear the Home Secretary begin a statement with the routine declaration that the “vast majority of police officers in this country do their job honestly and with integrity” to start sweating in anticipation of what’s coming.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Nicky Morgan’s ministerial debut haunted by the ghost of her predecessor

Michael Gove himself was not present, even when David Cameron arrived as the Commons chamber began to fill up for his statement on Flight MH17 and Gaza

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure from the even harder right

Israel-Gaza conflict: The suffering continues for lack of a peace broker

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure for an escalation of the ground war

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Liz Truss’s lap-warming welcome to the front bench

Considering the distractions, Liz Truss did well to survive her debut as Environment Secretary.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Shameless PM fails to persuade MPs he is serious with his dodgy tackle

At last, we understand. All that stupid, ill-informed speculation that Michael Gove – or “the former Education Secretary” as David Cameron described him today, the phrase slipping with surprising ease from his lips – had been demoted.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: This reshuffle was not quite ‘The Night of the Long Knives 2’

It was the then Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe who said of Harold Macmillan’s famously brutal 1962 reshuffle that “greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his life”.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Theresa May on Elizabeth Butler-Sloss - I must admit she was her brother’s sister

There were moments when Vaz’s headmasterly tones made you almost want to sympathise with the Home Secretary over the appointment. Almost but not quite

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. 

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