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: Vince Cable grilled over Royal Mail sell-off, but he seems to enjoy it

Impressively engaged, these folk in Middlesbrough South. Late in the Commons exchanges on the Royal Mail sell-off, their Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop announced that “I, like my constituents, am very angry that figure 20 on page 48 of the [National Audit Office report] shows that one priority investor was allocated just shy of 20 million shares and has since sold 97 per cent of them... Were they given priority because they are mates of the Government?”

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Esther McVey’s job is to spread the sunshine with gusto

It’s unsurprising that “gusto” is a favourite Esther McVey word, since she positively vibrates with the stuff.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: No clear winner in a clash of opposites

So this was it. The rumble in the jungle. Without a title fight since 2010, the undisputed TV debate champion was up against the great white hope of anti-politics, the man we always thought of as the No 1 cheeky chappie but who, we were horrified to learn, believes that no politician has in recent years “worked so many hours and had as little fun as me”.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe leaves an irritating loose end

An irritating little loose end was left in the lay spectator’s mind long after the Home Affairs Committee had finished its understandably waspish grilling of a defensive Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe on the shredding of documents relevant to the Met’s anti-corruption investigations.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: David Cameron 'draws down' on pensioner goodwill

Sketch: The Prime Minister said he wouldn’t dare give his audience a history lesson – and then proceeded to do just that

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Commons pays tribute to Tony Benn, ‘the most dangerous man in Britain’

His description was matter of fact. But the impact was oddly dramatic. Pointing towards the entrance, Hilary Benn recounted how 15 of the staggering 16 parliamentary elections his father had won had “enabled him to walk through those doors and take his place in this chamber. One of them – the by-election he fought after the death of his father – did not.”

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: The Budget speech wasn’t music hall but the audience was entertained

A budget for “makers, doers and savers”. And bingo promoters! So not the measures we had all been expecting, targeted at spendthrift hermits dedicated to a life of blameless inactivity and meditation. But we were ready for anything – maybe because of the music hall flourish in Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle’s introduction. “Put your hands together for the Prestigious Prestigidator and President of Fun, the Right Honourable George Osborne.” (OK, that’s not quite how he put it, but the effect was similar).

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Europe appears to have a severe shortage of both sticks and carrots

Some Eurocratic wit – it may have been the unusual British diplomat Robert Cooper – was the first to define the EU motto on foreign policy as: “Speak softly but carry a big carrot.” In the scornful view of several MPs, that was about as far as the Europeans had gone in standing up to Russia over Ukraine.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Impenetrable jargon is Defence Secretary’s most powerful weapon

Do the ministers absorb by osmosis their civil service briefs?

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Lots of love for our dumb chums as animal support splits along party lines split

Eloquently introducing the Commons debate on her call to end the “inhumane” (and so far notably unsuccessful) slaughter of badgers as a means of eradicating bovine TB, the Tory backbencher Anne Main remarked that this was “not an easy subject with feelings running high on both sides”. This was, to put it mildly, an understatement.

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