Andy McSmith's Diary: George Osborne eyes William Hague’s Foreign Secretary job in act of misplaced optimism

George Osborne intends to become Foreign Secretary next year, according to The Spectator’s normally plugged-in political editor, James Forsyth. The assumption is that William Hague will pull out of frontline politics in May 2015.

He will be 54, too young to retire, but he has been around a very long time, having become an MP at the age of 28, a cabinet minister at 34, and leader of the Tory party at 36. Osborne and David Cameron have formed the most successful political partnership in recent Conservative history, and Osborne reportedly will want to be where the action is. The main action, if there is a Conservative government, will be the referendum on whether to stay in or leave the EU.

There is, of course, the formality of a general election to get through first. If leading figures such as Osborne are already mentally bagging their seats in a future Cabinet, they must think that election is as good as won. A lot of Tories thought the same in 2010.

Nadine’s novelistic flop

Nadine Dorries has been assiduous in promoting her new novel, The Four Streets. It is the first in a projected series of three for which her publishers, Head of Zeus, reportedly paid a six-figure advance. Now, three weeks after the book first appeared in the shops and on Amazon, the sales figures are in four digits. At the latest count, it has sold 1,154 copies. 

That’s no lady...

“You are an illustrious product of the Cheltenham Ladies’ College, I cannot believe they taught you there to behave like that,” exclaimed the Speaker, John Bercow, as he rebuked the Labour MP Fiona Mactaggart for barracking too loudly during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Cheltenham Ladies’ College has many illustrious products. I suspect that the 77-year-old actress, Tsai Chin, who played Madame Lu in the 2006 version of Casino Royale, may have been a sixth-former there around the year 1953 – because she wrote a song, vividly describing the life these ladies led. I quote:

“I went to school in Cheltenham, at a fashionable ladies’ college, where I learnt what’s what and acquired a lot of exceedingly practical knowledge.

“Our reading, writing, arithmetic was positively mediocre, but we got pretty slick at the three-card trick and we played a pretty hand of poker…

“Our marks at French and algebra were a series of disasters, but at forging cheques and S-E-X, we were absolute past masters…”

If that is the sort of education Ms Mactaggart had, no wonder she gets out of hand during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Patriarchs of the House

As is often the way, the highlight of Prime Minister’s Questions was the performance by the Father of the House, the 83-year-old Sir Peter Tapsell, who instead of asking a question delivered a seminar on how to privatise a utility. Sir Peter’s political career is entering its final year, because he has said he will bow out at the general election. And we now know who the next Father of the House will be, because the Manchester Gorton constituency Labour Party has reselected its sitting MP, Sir Gerald Kaufman, undeterred by his age. He is four months younger than Sir Peter, and if he serves out another five-year term, he will still be an MP at the age of 89 years and 10 months.

Does any of it stand up?

David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth, has accused Welsh GPs of handing out Viagra “willy nilly”, according to Wales Online. The site quotes a Welsh government source as saying this is a “cock-and-bull” story – meaning, if I may revert to journalists’ slang, that it doesn’t stand up.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas