Village People: 22/05/2010
Saturday 22 May 2010
Hunters outfoxed by team Cameron
Of all the Tories who did not make it into the coalition Cabinet, possibly the most surprising omission was Nick Herbert. He is minister for Police, an important job, but below Cabinet level.
Mr Herbert is very highly thought of by team Cameron and, unlike others who were shunted aside, he was not moved to make way for a Lib Dem. The job he was expected to fill, as Environment Secretary, went to a fellow Tory, Caroline Spelman.
The likely explanation is that Mr Herbert had given the fox hunting fraternity a cast iron promise that an incoming Conservative government must get straight down to lifting the ban on hunting with dogs. There will be a free vote in Parliament on hunting, but it is not going to happen soon, and it is by no means certain that it will go the way the "Barbour brigade" want it to. Shunting Mr Herbert down one step on the ministerial ladder spares him the pain of having to break a promise.
But Tim Bonner, of the Countryside Alliance, is far from downcast. "People are very stoical about it," he said. "The hunts have lived through all these years under a hostile Labour government. They can manage for another year or two."
Art of surprise
Another surprisingly under-promoted former shadow minister is Ed Vaizey, an old Oxford chum of Cameron, who scraped in as a junior minister in the smallest government department – a punishment, no doubt, for that embarrassing gaffe two months ago when he said on television that Samantha Cameron might be thinking of voting Labour. That sent Cameron spin-doctors round the lobby spreading their witty message that "Ed Vaizey does not know his arts from his elbow." Vaizey is minister for the arts.
Stroud may face a new calling
Whatever is the opposite of a Facebook friend, Philippa Stroud, who was Tory candidate in Sutton and Cheam at the election, has more of them than virtually anyone else in politics. A "sack Philippa Stroud" Facebook group attracted 5,209 members in a matter of days after The Observer disclosed that she belonged to an evangelical church which performs exorcisms on gays and lesbians. Her church also believes in helping the poor, and Mrs Stroud has a long record as a devoted social activist, so after she failed to win Sutton, the Works and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith decided he wanted her as his special adviser. Nothing is officially decided yet. They are weighing up whether the experience she will bring to the job is worth the outcry.
Abbott already earns a good crust
Diane Abbott will add diversity to the field of candidates for the Labour leadership election in many different ways. Not only will she be the only candidate with a child at private school, she will be the one with the least to gain financially.
The four lead candidates all saw their income halved this month, and will have to adjust to life on an MP's salary of £64,700. But whoever wins the leadership election will draw a salary of £138,000. That would be a big hike for the average MP, but less so for Ms Abbott, whose many television appearances and other commitments take her income comfortably over £110,000.
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 3 Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk
- 4 Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
- 5 Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
Photographer who performed naked shoot in China's Forbidden City sparks outrage
Ed Miliband returns to the backbenches but it's all a bit awkward as he tries to avoid eye-contact with fellow Labour MPs
Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
Isis tortures 14-year-old Syrian boy and films it in graphic video for 'propaganda purposes'
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history
£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: First things first - for the av...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced creative web and...
£17000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity is now ...
£22000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital advertising infras...