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: Marbles and David Cameron putting the boot into John Bercow help to relieve the tedium

There was a genuinely startling moment during Prime Minister’s Questions today. And no, it wasn’t the man being bundled out after seemingly flinging marbles at the screen protecting MPs from the public – though goodness knows that helped to relieve the tedium. It was when David Cameron suddenly – if metaphorically – decided to plant his boot on the neck of the Speaker, John Bercow.

Man arrested for allegedly throwing marbles during PMQs

Mps were protected by screen erected in 2004

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Fiona Woolf keen to establish one thing... five dinners does not an association make

The thing about Fiona Woolf is that she’s just an ordinary, common or garden, little old Lord Mayor of London.

Britain's Defence Secretary Michael Fallon arriving for a Cobra meeting at the Cabinet Office on October 8th

Michael Fallon makes a flying start at the MoD

“As long as there is a Conservative government, the Red Arrows will continue to fly,” he assured an appreciative Commons with a flourish

Tam Dalyell is unhappy last month’s Scottish referendum ever came to pass, but does not blame Tony Blair for devolution

Tam Dalyell: Still asking his awkward question, the prophet of West Lothian

Tam Dalyell warned for years that Westminster’s relationship with Scotland was broken. Now, he tells Donald Macintyre, it is even worse, thanks to some ‘off their rocker’ behaviour by party leaders

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: David Cameron’s drive for a Mark Reckless-free Rochester

Once Prime Ministers didn’t much go to by-elections. Five times at Newark alone, David Cameron is already sure to make the Guinness Book of Records as the most persistent by-election campaigning PM in history. But today he set a more startling precedent: campaigning before there was even a candidate!

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Freudian slip was just the tonic for sick Ed Miliband

Most people hearing a croaking Ed Miliband gamely explaining that “I am speaking through a sore throat, but I would not have missed this meeting with the Prime Minister for the world” would think: “For goodness sake, why didn’t you call in sick?”

Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Gordon Brown beats a path amid Tory threats, Labour evasion and SNP ‘discord’

During today’s devolution debate the SNP’s MPs had what passes for a tactic, which was to keep noisily interrupting the speakers from other parties to ask them where their leaders, Cameron, Miliband and Clegg were.

A pro-Palestine demonstration outside Westminster on Monday. Although MPs from all parties ended up in support of the motion to recognise Palestine, Labour was forced to whip its MPs to vote in favour of the resolution

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: No bombast as members on all sides drift away from Israel

In the end, even the tone of the Palestine debate made you think there might indeed be something historic about it.

British recognition of Palestine would carry a powerfully symbolic message

British recognition of Palestine would not itself change a single fact on the ground in one of the world’s most intractable conflicts. But it would carry a powerfully symbolic message, which is why Palestinian leaders in Ramallah strongly hope it will happen and the Israeli government is equally concerned that it should not.

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