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The election starting gun has been fired. Has Rishi Sunak lost the plot? Did he take Johnny Mercer's memo personally? Read all about this week's happenings in Who's Top, Who's Not!

Top: Craig Mackinlay

It is a rare occasion in politics when you see both sides of the House come together, and that was certainly the case after Mr Mackinlay, the Conservative MP for South Thanet made his triumphant return to Parliament.

On September 28 2023, Mackinlay went into septic shock, causing kidney and liver failure and blood clots – causing his limbs to turn black. The surgeons performed a quadruple amputation, but he remained “stoic about it”.

Nearly eight months later, Mackinlay has returned to Westminster in time for PMQs this week. He returned to a standing ovation and Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, said: “As you know, we don’t normally allow clapping – but this is an exception!”. A remarkable story, welcome back, Craig!

Middle: Rishi Sunak

And we are a go! Rishi Sunak has determined that being 20 points behind in the polls is no hindrance to going to the country 6 months early and so the UK faces its first July election since 1945 – Labour nerds will know how that one turned out.

Sunak had landed on a political strategy that the fall in the headline inflation rate, from 3.2% to 2.3%, is enough to demonstrate that the economy is improving and we need to stick to the Tory plan (an argument that is slightly contradicted by choosing to go for an election 6 months before you needed to).

Labour is determined to own the ‘change’ narrative – but not the scary type of change. So, you will hear lots of reassurance that the party is different under Starmer and can be trusted; with the economy, the nation’s defence, and just about everything.

Things can change during the short campaign – just ask Thesa May – but the polls and recent local and mayoral elections have prophesied that Sunak’s days are numbered. The new economic context could give him his best shot, but it is unlikely to be enough.

Bottom: Johnny Mercer

WTWN thought it was common sense not to criticise your boss in public. Well, Johnny Mercer the veterans’ minister, should be more careful about venting his frustrations on his laptop…which was in full view of fellow train passengers as he travelled to London from Exeter.

The minister was inevitably photographed, and the memo was as exposed as his bare feet. Yes, that’s right, his bare feet. You’ve forgotten all about the memo now – he was blasted just as much for travelling with no socks or shoes on public transport and too right if you ask WTWN. Mercer put this down to the fact he had just cycled across Dartmoor in the rain -not sure that makes it any better.

In his memo, he demanded that more popular Cabinet colleagues like Penny Mordaunt and Kemi Badenock should be given more airtime. Johnny criticised Sunak’s aids for hogging the limelight and acting as if he is still as popular as he was when he first took office – ouch. Still, with a marginal Plymouth seat to fight for, Mercer may soon have time for more Dartmoor bike rides.