And finally... The IoS announces its Reshuffle Awards
After an eventful week on the political stage, John Rentoul sums up the highs and lows and hands out some deserved gongs
Sunday 07 June 2009
Most successful loyalist
Peter Mandelson, in effect emerging from the reshuffle as Deputy Prime Minister. Made up for 15 years of hurt by organising cabinet ministers to back Gordon Brown and disagree with James Purnell on Thursday night, andappearing everywhere to defend the PM on Friday.
Runner-up: Liam Byrne, mid-rank minister who went in front of the cameras to tell Labour MPs that they really do not want to have an early general election. Rewarded with promotion to the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Most unsuccessful loyalist
Shaun Woodward, who patronised countless media presenters after Purnell's resignation by telling them that car workers all over the country were raising their spanners in support of the Prime Minister. He hoped to become Home Secretary and was rewarded with... staying at Northern Ireland.
Most unconvincing loyalist
Shaun Woodward: "It is a huge privilege and honour to continue serving as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. I asked the Prime Minister to enable me to help complete this work and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity for a third year."
Sir Anthony Meyer award for pointless self-sacrifice
James Purnell, who looked behind him to find that he was on his own in no-man's land.
Most useless plot
The email telling Gordon Brown: "you can best serve the Labour Party and the country by stepping down as party leader and Prime Minister", which,it seems, attracted the name of not a single Labour MP.
Most counterproductive tactic
Nick Brown, the chief whip, naming several MPs as plotters who, although they want Gordon out, weren't actually plotting. Paul Farrelly, Labour MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, accused No 10 of "feeding my name to the media as the ringleader of a coup".
Clare Short award for unconvincing late resignation
Caroline Flint, after recording an interview criticising James Purnell for resigning.
Most dangerous backbencher
Nick Raynsford, a former minister, for telling it like it is: "There is widespread unhappiness but it's not a basis for a rebellion."
Most unfair expenses victim
Ian Gibson, whose claim for a flat in which his daughter and her boyfriend also lived was not as reprehensible as others censured by Labour's kangaroo court. He resigned.
Fashion item of the week
Hazel Blears's Rocking the Boat brooch.
Also commended: James Purnell's sideburns; Andy Burnham's new glasses; Jacqui Smith's super-wide belt; Lord Mandelson's burgundy tie.
Luckiest accidental promotion
Bob Ainsworth, the new Secretary of State for Defence, plugging the gap left by his boss John Hutton's surprise departure.
Bunker mentality award
Sarah Brown, the Prime Minister's wife, who has Twittered all week on cake-baking, baby strawberries, ironing in the Cotswolds and Britain's Got Talent.
Most unfair expenses story
Sunday Telegraph front-page lead on Frank Cook's £5 church collection claim. Compare and contrast the reporting of David Cameron and Boris Johnson's £80,000 mortgage claims.
Most creative excuse for an expenses claim
Sir Gerald Kaufman's self-diagnosed obsessive compulsive disorder, that led him to claim for two Waterford grapefruit bowls for £220. "I have the same breakfast when I'm at home in London and Manchester every day. Half a grapefruit, a bowl of muesli with semi-skimmed milk and a cup of coffee with a Rich Tea biscuit."
John Major toothache award
Ed Miliband, Climate Change Secretary, whose baby was born on Tuesday night. Runner-up: Alan Milburn, who was in Doha, Qatar.
John Major award for prime ministerial bathos
Gordon Brown, who did not accept that the reshuffle was "shambolic". He said: "They often finish much later in the day."
Most futile attempt to influence the reshuffle
Andrew MacKinlay, Labour MP: "It is unacceptable for the Foreign Secretary not to be a member of the House of Commons."
Banquo award for not commenting
Tony Blair, at the London School of Economics, less than a mile from Westminster. "We're going to give time for questions and answers," he said. "On the environment and climate change."
Most ridiculous diversion of the week
Boris Johnson, who fell into a river during a clean-up photo-op to promote volunteering.
Title of the week
Rt Hon Lord Mandelson of Foy in the County of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the County of Durham, First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Lord President of the Council.
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