whips’ office

Corbyn’s choice

Editorial  |  27 August 2017

The UK staying in the single market is in the gift of the Labour leader and his ‘new politics’ Jeremy Corbyn paints his political views in primary colours: he is against war, austerity and the private sector. He was a fervent critic of Neil Kinnock, John Smith, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He voted against …

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In Corbyn’s gift

Hilary Armstrong  |  27 August 2017

If Jeremy Corbyn gives Labour MPs the room to act it could mean staying in the single market without losing the ‘left behind’ voters to Labour’s cause, believes Hilary Armstrong The challenge for the Labour leadership in the coming weeks and months around Brexit is clear. We have two very distinct strands, those more working-class, …

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Labour’s waiting game

Mark Stuart  |  27 August 2017

Could the cautious Brexit approach come back to harm Jeremy Corbyn, asks Mark Stuart At last, David Davis, the secretary of state for exiting the European Union, has revealed his initial negotiating hand on the customs union. The government proposes a temporary ‘virtual partnership’, following Britain’s departure from the EU in March 2019. But only …

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This House: The honour in political machinery

Richard Angell  |  1 December 2016

James Graham’s play, This House, exploring the working-class heroes in the whips’ office –  who fought the Tories and hard left to keep a Labour government in office – feels more poignant now than when it first opened in 2012. Reopening at the Garrick Theatre, Graham’s masterpiece shows the use of tactics, corralling the ‘odds …

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From Westminster to the National

Alison McGovern MP  |  24 May 2013

It’s a very strange experience to leave your place of work, head across the river to the National Theatre and see your place of work portrayed by actors on the stage there. To see the very room you just left recreated for the audience to see. To hear the language that hums though the building …

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This House

Greg Rosen  |  21 February 2013

Both British political drama and political comedy has struggled to depict politicians as being anything other than fools, as in Yes, Minister and The Thick of It, or villains, as in House of Cards. Where there is an alternative portrayal, as in Chris Mullin’s A Very British Coup, they are a lone voice of honest …

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Whipping it up

Jacqui Smith  |  16 July 2012

Last week was a bad week for the government whips’ office: a big ‘rebellion’; the prime minister shouting at backbenchers; people in tears. These are the Westminster stories which mean very little to most people outside, but they do represent a serious problem for a government’s programme. When I was chief whip, we had an …

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Spare the whips?

Jacqui Smith  |  13 February 2012

I really enjoyed my time as government chief whip, but who’d want the role at the moment! This week, parliament expert Professor Philip Cowley from Nottingham University reported that the number of government rebellions in this parliament already stands at 199. By contrast, the whole of the first Tony Blair parliament saw only 96; and …

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