Just another week in politics? As we approach Christmas, it looks like Westminster drama is not set to wind down anytime soon. This week's Who's Top Who's Not covers immigration, war and even the Elgin Marbles gets a mention!
Top - Steve McCabe
Other November reshuffles may be more eye-catching (looking at you, Lord Cameron) but this week’s mini reshuffle of Labour’s junior frontbenchers was quietly revealing.
Notable appointments include former Defence Minister Steve McCabe shadowing Jonny Mercer on veterans and former Shadow Defra Secretary Jim McMahon (and former Labour LGA leader) is now shadow local government minister. These are very much round pegs in round holes.
These moves were due to the fallout from the Gaza vote and the resignations of several frontbenchers (WTWN hears that Harriet Harman was instrumental in limiting the rebellion and keeping it small, but even her influence only goes so far). These new positions are likely to remain in place until the general election so they will mostly be concerned with policy development and campaigning.
There will be further moves when Starmer appoints his first government but by then policy development will have shifted to policy delivery, so anyone wishing to make their case to Labour should be doing so now!
Middle ranking - James Cleverley
WTWN is old enough to remember when immigration policy was a tricky subject for Labour but the Conservatives’ struggles in this area are set to continue.
The opposition is getting to play politics on easy mode as Home Secretary James Cleverley and Immigration Minister push seemingly contradictory immigration policies, leaving the official government position as clear as mud. No need to go to the cinema to recall Napoleon’s famous quote about interrupting your enemies!
Sunak’s BFF Jenrick was originally appointed to keep an eye on Braverman at the Home Office, but he appears to have gone native and is now keeping Suella’s flame alive and all her dreams of Rwanda-bound aviation. No greater praise for the new darling of the right than Jenrick being lauded by the influential Sir John Hayes at PMQs – one to keep an eye on.
Sinking quickly – Rishi Sunak
Whether by accident or design, Sunak spent a good portion of his week talking about ancient Greek artefacts – not sure he saw that one coming when he first became PM.
The PM’s less than Marble-ous diplomacy (sorry/not sorry) over the return of the Elgin Marbles this week has caused quite a stir. The arguments with the Greeks over their return are long-running and seemingly ongoing with even British Museum Chair, George Osborne, acknowledging that they are still in talks over loaning them back to Greece.
This one is sure to keep rolling.