The Corridor

Our Westminster spy on the freeloading footie fan, Labour’s hard-left harrumphing and Johnson’s swinger consigliere

The Mace logo high res - by Adam Dant
On the house

When Nigel Adams was sports minister he enjoyed a reputation among his aides for attending as many matches, tournaments and championships as he possibly could. Now that Nige is minister for Asia, he has a reduced fixture list – but that didn’t stop him attending four England Euro 2020 matches at Wembley, courtesy of corporate hospitality, benefiting from tickets worth over £8,000. At least one of the matches was courtesy of Heineken which has a brewery in his constituency, Selby and Ainsty.

Harper Lisa

It’s not hard to antagonise the far left of the Labour Party and shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy has done just that. Comrades are complaining that Nandy’s book Where Next? – another state-of-the-nation treatise hitting shelves next June – is being published by Harper North, a division of Harper Collins, owned by Rupert Murdoch. Anti-Murdoch sentiment is nothing new: late Labour MP Austin Mitchell was sacked as shadow spokesman on trade and industry over three decades ago for co-presenting a show on Sky TV. The fact Peter Mandelson – persona non grata among lefties these days – also took the Harper Collins shilling for his tome isn’t exactly helping Nandy’s cause…

Bermondsey blue

Corridor is surprised to receive news that veteran Tory MP Sir Bernard Jenkin is regularly frequenting a hipster hotspot. “He’s partial to a breakfast coffee al fresco on Bermondsey Street while he fires up his laptop,” says my Southwark spy. Sir Bernard, who current chairs the Parliamentary Liaison Committee, is left in peace by the surrounding young beatniks who have no idea of his identity. Were they to discover, it’s a safe bet that he would find a quiet single-origin coffee with oat milk somewhat harder to come by.

Me, myself and Keir

Lord Ashcroft recently published his tome Red Knight about Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. He uncovered a fascinating anecdote about unrest concerning Sir Keir’s alleged conduct at Frank Dobson’s funeral in December 2019. “Starmer was invited to give a spoken tribute to him,” writes Lord Ashcroft about the service for the much-loved health secretary. One attendee remembers that other mourners were less than impressed. “He talked about his selection and how he’d got to know Frank and it didn’t strike the right note,” they recall. “It was a funeral, not a political event. I remember Chris Bryant saying afterwards, ‘Keir talked mostly about himself ’ and I thought that captured it rather well.” Ouch.

King of the swingers

Corridor has long wondered whether it really was the case that Dougie Smith, Boris Johnson’s unofficial fixer, was unembarrassed by front page revelations that he ran orgies as the co-founder of Fever Parties. Says a friend: “Dougie claimed at the time he was more worried by what his swinger friends would say when they found out he was a Conservative than what his Conservative friends would say about him being a swinger.”

6th November 2021