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By ESTHER WEBBER
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BREAKING OVERNIGHT: Donald Trump continued to pursue paths to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election while rioters smashed through police lines at the Capitol, according to testimony aired last night by the committee investigating the events of January 6. “President Trump did not fail to act … he chose not to act,” a Republican senator told the hearing. Head to our U.S. site for full coverage.
DRIVING THE DAY
SUNAK FIGHTBACK: Rishi Sunak’s team is preparing to up the ante over a crucial few days which could decide the country’s next prime minister, as he attempts to fight back against the narrative that Liz Truss has it in the bag. The perception of Truss as the one to beat was turbocharged by a dramatic YouGov poll showing she holds a 24-point lead over Rishi Sunak among Conservative Party members. Is there anything Sunak can do to pull it back? His supporters are still very confident there is, and Playbook has got the inside track on where the campaign goes from here.
Truss ascendant: First, let’s remember that a few months ago almost everyone expected that in a race between Sunak and Truss, the then-chancellor would be the clear frontrunner. One MP described Truss supporters to POLITICO as “the lunatic fringe” in this piece surveying their nascent campaigns at Christmas. It feels doubtful they’d repeat that statement now. Truss grabbed the headlines as intended yesterday with her punchy claim that the economic orthodoxy is bust, and the policies of Conservative and Labour governments over the past 20 years have not delivered growth.
Poll position: Then came the YouGov poll to really stir things up. A survey carried out after the final two candidates were announced has Truss on 62 percent and Sunak on 38 percent (excluding those who don’t know or would not vote), which looks pretty hard to come back from. Truss leads Sunak in all age groups, both male and female voters, and among Leave voters. Sunak wins among Remain voters only, which must sting given his Brexit credentials. Sunak is also less trusted by members, according to YouGov.
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Health check: Some Sunak backers are skeptical about the findings, pointing out the exclusion of a large number of don’t knows and arguing that it’s notoriously hard to poll Tory members. However, even if all the don’t knows break for Sunak, which seems kind of unlikely, Truss would still have a narrow lead.
Tax attacks: Quibbles aside, Sunak and his supporters know that he has to go on the offensive, and there are two strands to that: policy and strategy. The ex-chancellor has conspicuously stepped up his attacks in the past 24 hours on Truss’ plans for immediate tax cuts. With inflation at a 40-year high, he told Andrew Marr on LBC: “My strong point of view is if the government goes on a huge borrowing spree, that is only going to make that situation worse. And that will mean that the problem will last longer.”
But is this where the members are? A senior Sunak ally said the argument over taxes “will be one of the central arguments we’re going to have now throughout the summer.” They added that “the British Conservative Party’s tradition is sound money and fiscal responsibility, and Rishi Sunak is absolutely in that tradition. I think in the end, that’s where our members will be too.” Another Conservative MP for a seat with a high number of pensioners said of his local party: “Two issues worry them. Inflation robbing them of savings and funding the NHS as they are likely to need it. Rishi wins on both of these.”
Under pressure: A former government adviser predicted we could see at least a subtle change of tack, because “he needs to throw something to the right and the finance bods who think Liz is right.” Those finance bods include the economist Patrick Minford, who told BBC Newsnight: “The fundamentals of the supply side are about incentives and entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial innovation, and by raising corporation tax as Rishi Sunak is planning, which Liz Truss is going to reverse, that reduces incentives for businesses to innovate so directly hits productivity which is the key to growth.”
Lockdown smackdown: The other standout line from the LBC interview was Sunak’s claim that he flew back from an overseas government trip in December 2021 to stop a COVID lockdown which was “hours” away from being announced. He argued this proved he was “prepared to push hard and fight for the things I believe in,” but the claim has angered some of his old colleagues. A government source tells the Mail’s Jason Groves it is “categorically untrue,” while Sunak’s team says it’s “totally true.” It’s going to be a long summer.
FRANTIC FORTNIGHT: As one experienced Conservative aide put it: “The next two weeks are critical — they’re putting all their firepower behind the next fortnight.” An MP close to Sunak acknowledged “with the members we are playing catch-up rather than being ahead, whereas he was ahead with MPs.” They said they wanted to see him “out there” as much as possible in TV debates and interviews, and predicted he would be out and about meeting people in Q&A sessions similar to David Cameron’s “Cameron direct” events.
Love-bombing local members: Local party organizations are being encouraged to hold events themselves, with the proviso that both sides must be represented. Both Truss and Sunak are said to be keen to appear at as many as possible in person, with allies expected to attend the sessions they can’t make.
Where better to start? Playbook hears Sunak’s team is drawing up plans for a campaign event in Grantham at the weekend, just in case we hadn’t had enough of the candidates cosplaying Thatcher.
Inside the first hustings: While the hustings start in earnest next week, Truss and Sunak had their first taste of the action at a closed session held by the Local Government Association for Tory councillors yesterday. The candidates took turns to set out their stall rather than going head to head, and reports reached Playbook that Truss was on the front foot yet again. One admirer said the “woodenness simply fell away before our eyes.” Truss poked fun at herself for once being a Lib Dem, this councillor said, and argued she could help the Tories win “because she knows all their dirty tricks.” Apparently the party faithful lapped it up.
But, but, but: Not everyone is enamored. Another councillor texted in that Rishi “put in a strong performance” and “brings the most energy, which we are going to need in the run up to the next election — he’s a straight talker with a clear plan to fix the country’s pressing problems, which is based on Conservative values. I know from a council meeting last night that most of my own council group agree.”
Meme wars: A Conservative MP got in touch to say that anti-Rishi memes with “racial overtones” are being shared widely on social media. One seen by Playbook dwelled mainly on the financial affairs of Sunak’s wife, referred to repeatedly as “the woman he is sleeping with,” next to a cartoon of Sunak with exaggerated facial features. It was unclear who had produced the image and there is no suggestion the material has any connection to the Truss campaign. The MP who flagged it said “the snapshot I am getting is that the anti-Rishi strain within the membership is far more active and motivated than the anti-Liz lot.” If you’ve seen any such memes directed at either candidate, please get in touch.
THATCHER SNATCHERS: James Forsyth, a friend of Sunak, has penned a warm endorsement of the former chancellor in the Times, arguing that he is the true heir of Thatcher, not only in his economics but in his values. “His family embodies the ‘vigorous virtues’ the Thatcherites sought to promote,” Forsyth writes. “They are hard-working, entrepreneurial and public-spirited. His mother set up her own chemist, serving her community as surely as the Roberts grocery.”
Choose your fighter: Forsyth makes the point that Truss can be regarded as closer to Ronald Reagan in her vision for the economy, while Thatcher held that you have to control inflation before cutting taxes. Intriguingly, Playbook heard exactly the same comparison made by an MP today — the obvious difference being that unlike Thatcher and Reagan, it doesn’t seem as if Truss and Sunak are about to buddy up any time soon.
Staying with the theme: In its cover story, the Economist looks at the growth challenge awaiting the next prime minister and pronounces that “Thatcher was defined above all by her character, not her policies. Hauling the British economy out of a deep rut took steel and stamina.” The magazine says: “These qualities are needed again today. It is easy enough to talk about the need for growth, much harder to embrace its consequences: difficult compromises with the EU, more money for already-wealthy areas and unpopular planning decisions taken in the teeth of local objections.”
Sound as a pound: Also in the Economist, Bagehot has a highly enjoyable piece on the difference between being “sound” and “clever” in the eyes of the Conservative Party. Sunak is clever and Truss is sound, according to Bagehot, and the party prefers the latter to the former.
Taking a step back: Writing in his Substack, Sam Freedman judges that Sunak still has the ability to take the lead if he smashes his TV performances. He points to the level of support for Kemi Badenoch in the final few days as a sign of volatility in the race, meaning “hustings, press coverage, and broadcast interviews will really matter.” The FT’s Stephen Bush is less optimistic about Sunak’s chances, pointing out that he is an incredibly high-profile politician and “if Conservative members are not convinced of his qualities now, then surely they will not reverse their position after one month of hustings.”
Hope for us all: There’s a nice read on Truss’ reinvention in the Times from Oliver Wright, Henry Zeffman and Steven Swinford. It centers on her demotion by Theresa May in 2017 from secretary of state to chief secretary to the Treasury. A friend tells them she just stopped caring at all about what other people thought and did her own thing. “It marked a turning point for her. Getting demoted made her realise that she had to start being herself and taking risks.” Get that framed for an inspirational wall-hanging, stat.
Truss abroad: The Atlantic’s Tom McTague has had a novel idea and interviewed the foreign secretary about her foreign policy. Truss outlines her vision for a more assertive G7 as a kind of “economic NATO,” countering the influence of China. “The war in Ukraine,” McTague writes, “appears to have given London an injection of energy and ambition (or, as its critics might prefer, hubris and self-delusion), a shift that has caught the attention of Moscow and Kyiv, where Britain’s sudden sense of hawkish self-belief has sparked equal measures of opprobrium and delight.” Think tank Chatham House is holding an event to discuss this rather under-examined aspect of the leadership contest today at midday.
Good times: As the race for Downing Street enters its new and frankly far less exciting phase, POLITICO’s Matt Honeycombe-Foster looks back on the best fortnight’s entertainment that British politics has offered in years. Come on, who among you doesn’t want to relive the 11 times the Tory leadership race was completely nuts? Do shout up if we missed any.
NEW RULES: Everybody’s favorite influential think tank — the Institute for Fiscal Studies — has been looking at the two candidates’ policies, and finds Liz Truss’ plans to cut taxes would cost at least £30 billion. This is “likely” to break the existing fiscal rules, the IFS says, which of course are open to her to rewrite. Meanwhile, Sunak “is proposing nothing beyond current government policy” and as such, Tory members are facing a “genuine choice.” The BBC’s Ben King has a write-up.
Lower taxes, but not yet: Rishi Sunak could bring forward a planned cut to income tax but not until autumn next year, per the i’s Arj Singh and Telegraph’s Ben Riley-Smith, Camilla Tominey and Daniel Martin. Singh notes that Sunak anticipates inflation could come down in the middle of next year, based on Treasury analysis. This fits with the general Mr Sensible approach being staked out by the former chancellor.
Service, please: New polling from Ipsos shows that the cost of living (58 percent) and public services such as schools and hospitals (42 percent) are the top two issues voters want to hear Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss plan for the way forward for the country. No surprises there, but what is striking is that while both candidates have discussed the cost of living, they’ve been pretty quiet about public services: The NHS was not mentioned in either of their launch videos.
Everything to play for: Another Ipsos poll finds the public think Sunak is slightly more likely to win a general election than Truss — but only a minority choose either and almost half cannot pick between them. Encouragingly for Truss, more Britons think she would make a good prime minister than earlier this month.
High flyer: Truss spent £500,000 of taxpayers money in three months using private government jets, the Mirror’s Mikey Smith reports. The Sunday Mirror revealed this week that the Tory leadership finalist had flown more than 100,000 miles on the official government plane in her nine months as foreign secretary, but until this week the Foreign Office had failed to publish the cost of her flights. A Truss campaign source said the on-board WiFi and privacy allowed her to “work more and harder.”
Room for error: Rishi Sunak may have breached parliamentary rules by using a room on the estate for his leadership campaign. He filmed a recent video, which includes a large “Ready for Rishi” poster, in the Thatcher room (where else?). However, as uncovered by Insider’s Cat Neilan and Henry Dyer, under parliamentary rules, rooms can only be booked for “purposes connected to the parliamentary duties of members or grey passholders … or relevant to the work of parliament.” Whoops.
Mordaunt’s revenge: She may be out of the race, but she’s not taking it lying down. There was a very spicy moment in the Commons as Penny Mordaunt, standing at the despatch box inches away from her boss, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, quipped: “I’m amazed to find myself here this morning given my reported work ethic.” Her comments follow criticism from the international trade secretary, who told LBC: “There have been a number of times when she hasn’t been available, which would have been useful, and other ministers have picked up the pieces.” My POLITICO colleague Emilio Casalicchio spotted the barbed comment, followed by another as she boasted: “For my own part, every single time the international trade committee … has asked me to go before it I have.” This was an apparent dig at AMT and her attendance record.
Trading blows: The briefing war here is certainly vicious, with Department for International Trade sources claiming to City AM’s Stefan Boscia that the latter claim was not true and that she refused to appear at a hearing of the committee in May — an allegation which Mordaunt denies. Please can whoever becomes prime minister ensure they end up in the same department again, just for the drama.
Why stop there? The i’s Richard Vaughan and David Parsley report Mordaunt is planning a “revenge campaign” to derail Truss. Supporters of both the trade minister and the sometime leadership hopeful Tom Tugendhat are said to be organizing against Truss in their constituencies.
Archive treasure trove: It might be too much to hope this becomes a daily feature, but BBC Newsnight has unearthed more footage of Truss as a young Lib Dem canvassing people on abolishing the monarchy. And the redoubtable Tides of History Twitter account has dug out this 2001 NME interview with Truss, in which she confesses to enjoying Toploader. If she’s got any sense she’ll come out on stage at her next event to Dancing in the Moonlight.
TODAY IN WESTMINSTER
PARLIAMENT: In recess.
BORIS BY-BY? There was a hugely significant bit of parliamentary fine print as the terms were published for the privileges committee’s inquiry into whether Boris Johnson misled parliament over parties in Downing Street during lockdown. Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle determined that a suspension of 10 days or more recommended by the committee would fall under the Recall Act, meaning Johnson could face a by-election in order to remain an MP. The committee also published advice from the Commons’s top expert on parliamentary privilege, suggesting that “intention is not necessary for a contempt [of parliament] to be committed” — important because Johnson has always maintained he did not intentionally mislead parliament. It could, however, be relevant to deciding any sanction.
Just not cricket: MPs loyal to Johnson are fuming, reports the Telegraph’s Christopher Hope. One veteran Conservative MP tells him: “It is an attempt to bury Boris Johnson. This is dynamite. This is an impeachment. It is absolutely outrageous.” A second senior Tory MP said the report’s “only function appears to be to stoke up prejudice. Its authors clearly want to bury Boris and dance on his political grave.” Here’s to more close readings of Erskine May in the months to come.
Cancel your weekend plans: Top Liberal Democrats are holding a “blue wall summit” today and over the weekend in rural Staffordshire, to discuss their plans for fighting a new Tory leader. Campaigners who masterminded recent by-election victories will be joined by MPs and parliamentary candidates in blue wall seats as they gear up for a possible early election against Sunak or Truss. The party has also commissioned new polling which suggests the Conservatives may struggle in these seats even with a new leader, as voters who are now less likely to vote for the party cite rising energy bills as their biggest reason.
BREXFLATION BILL: The cost of Brexit has quickly risen by nearly £10 billion, according to figures spotted by Jon Stone at the Indy. What with the pension payments and other commitments which are inflation-linked — standard practice for this kind of long-term financial obligation — the cost of the U.K.’s Brexit “bill” will go up and down in line with inflation over time. For all the plans to supposedly hide the total obligations in small print of departmental accounts, it’s a significant enough financial burden for it not to escape accounting officers or spending watchdog the Office for Budget Responsibility. However, compared to the relative potential impact of trade decoupling over time, this is unlikely to prove the most expensive aspect of Brexit. The problem for the government is that this is more readily measured than other costs to business and the long-term impact on GDP per capita.
Nerves of steel: The owner of the U.K.’s largest steelworks, Tata Group, has threatened to shut down operations if the government does not agree to provide £1.5 billion of subsidies to help it reduce carbon emissions, report Anjli Raval, Sylvia Pfeifer, Harry Dempsey and Chloe Cornish in the FT. As they point out, decarbonizing the steel industry is central to the U.K.’s net zero target, and business leaders say a series of domestic political crises under Boris Johnson has made it difficult to get sustained senior-level engagement on investment decisions, including those of national strategic importance.
Not so fast: A government official hit back: “Ministers are committed to supporting industry transition to a low carbon future, but not at any cost. Ultimately, it is for multi-billion dollar global conglomerates like Tata Group to invest in their assets. Exploiting the current political context to leverage maximum taxpayer subsidy will not be received well by ministers. Tata Group has deep pockets, so they should dig deep.”
LABOUR LAND: Sky News’ Beth Rigby has an interview with Keir Starmer where he discusses being freed from two burdens: the Durham police inquiry, and the departure of Boris Johnson. He says he “hated” being investigated by police and it was a “burden every day.” Addressing the prospect of strikes over the summer, he tells Rigby no one who wants to be PM can go on a picket line. More here.
Ugly scenes: The lawyer representing ex-Labour staffers Laura Murray and Georgie Robertson — who hit back at the party’s claims it never offered them an NDA — has publicly waded into the row, writing in a pretty unusual letter to the Guardian that if Labour does not correct statements issued to journalists on this issue it would “risk undermining these women’s credibility.” A separate lawyer told the Guardian’s Jess Elgot he agreed with Mark Stephens, the lawyer in question.
MPs’ CONDUCT LATEST: The Conservatives and SNP have both been torn apart in recent weeks by misconduct allegations and recriminations over how they were handled. Plaid Cymru apparently did not want to be left out, and has decided to let MP Jonathan Edwards back into the party two years after he was cautioned for assaulting his wife. Some in Plaid are fuming over the decision. The BBC has more.
**POLITICO Live’s Future of Food and Farming Summit is returning for a sixth edition on September 29. Join us in Paris or online for a series of timely discussions on global food security, as Europe strives to achieve strategic autonomy in its agri-food sectors. Find out who is already confirmed and register here today.**
BEYOND THE M25
COMING ATTRACTION I: The Supreme Court will hear arguments for and against Nicola Sturgeon’s plan to legislate for a referendum without Westminster permission on October 11 and 12.
Unless … The new prime minister decides to shake things up in their first month by granting the SNP the referendum it craves. Fittingly, the National splashes today on Liz Truss declaring that she believes in the use of “referenda on major constitutional issues,” during the former Lib Dem activist’s infamous speech to the Libs’ conference in 1994.
Coming attraction II: Stormont is being reconvened Tuesday, for a third attempt since May’s election at voting in a speaker and ending the deadlock. After blocking the previous two efforts, the DUP is indicating that due to a lack of acceptable-to-it progress on the Northern Ireland protocol, it will do the exact same.
NOT SO SUPER: Mario Draghi has resigned as Italy’s PM, after failing to win the support of his coalition partners in a parliament vote of confidence. The technocrat, who tried and eventually failed to lead a government of national unity encompassing right, left and centrist parties plus the populist 5Star Movement, will stay on as a caretaker PM until an election in September. POLITICO’s Hannah Roberts has the full story from Rome. And in a separate must-read, Hannah takes you behind the scenes to the long lunch at the luxury villa of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, where Draghi’s downfall was plotted.
UKRAINE UPDATE: Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and U.N. chief António Guterres will today sign a deal on exports of grain through the Black Sea — according to Turkey, which is brokering the negotiations. Ukraine’s foreign ministry has confirmed only that another round of talks will take place in Istanbul today, while a Ukrainian MP close to talks told the BBC no final agreement has been reached yet and that Kyiv is wary of “last minute changes” from Moscow. POLITICO’s Zoya Sheftalovich has the details.
Running out of steam? Elsewhere, MI6 chief Richard Moore told the Aspen Security Forum that the British assessment is that Russia “will increasingly find it difficult to find manpower and material over the next few weeks,” which will give Ukraine a chance to strike back in the conflict. More from the FT here.
GET WELL SOON: Joe Biden has COVID, the White House announced. The president is said to be experiencing mild symptoms and is taking the antiviral pill Paxlovid. More here from POLITICO’s U.S. team, who also have a piece comparing it with the time his predecessor caught the virus before the 2020 election.
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Europe minister/Truss supporter Graham Stuart broadcast round: talkTV (7.32 a.m.) … Sky News (8.20 a.m.) … Times Radio (8.20 a.m.).
Shadow Policing Minister Sarah Jones broadcast round: LBC (7.10 a.m.) … Sky News (8.05 a.m.) … Times Radio (8.35 a.m.) … GB News (8.35 a.m.).
Also on Kay Burley (Sky News): Sunak supporter Robert Halfon (7.05 a.m.).
Also on Nick Ferrari at breakfast (LBC): Former GCSE chief examiner Tony Breslin (8.05 a.m.).
Also on Times Radio breakfast: Financial Secretary to the Treasury Lucy Frazer (7.05 a.m.) … Patrick English, political research manager at YouGov (7.20 a.m.) … Chair of criminal law committee at the Law Society Stuart Nolan (7.45 a.m.) … Head of policy at Citizens Advice Morgan Wild (8.20 a.m.) … Senior Research Economist at IFS Ben Zaranko (8.45 a.m.).
Also on talkTV breakfast: Tory peer Robert Hayward (8.05 a.m.) … Sunak supporter Andrew Bowie (8.20 a.m.).
Reviewing the paper’s tonight: Sky News (10.30 and 11.30 p.m.): The Sun’s Kate Ferguson and HuffPost’s Kevin Schofield … Times Radio (10.30 p.m.): Journalist Emma Woolf and FT’s Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe.
TODAY’S FRONT PAGES
(Click on the publication’s name to see its front page.)
Daily Express: BBC — ‘We let Diana down.’
Daily Mail: Channel migrants landed in Britain with guns.
Daily Mirror: Cops must now charge culprits — Di brother’s plea.
Daily Star: BBC — We let Diana down.
Financial Times: ECB vows to avert debt crisis as it lifts rates for first time since 2011.
HuffPost UK: Tory race — What next?
i: Mordaunt’s revenge — New plot to stop Truss.
Metro: BBC — We let Diana down.
POLITICO UK: 11 times the U.K. Tory leadership race went completely nuts.
PoliticsHome: Former cabinet minister dismisses Liz Truss claim she opposed Rishi Sunak’s tax rises.
The Daily Telegraph: No tax cuts until late next year, says Sunak.
The Guardian: Sunak goes on attack over tax as Truss takes poll lead.
The Independent: Austerity warning over ‘ridiculous’ Truss tax plan.
The Sun: Jade’s son joins Enders.
The Times: Truss and Sunak trade blows over tax pledges.
TODAY’S NEWS MAGS
The Economist: Growth cure — The lessons of life sciences for the British economy.
THANK POD IT’S FRIDAY
Chopper’s Politics: The Telegraph’s Chris Hope talks to former Tory leadership candidate Kemi Badenoch, former Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis and Tory peer Peter Cruddas.
Committee Corridor: Foreign affairs committee Chairman Tom Tugendhat is joined by campaigner Richard Ratcliffe.
Encompass: Paul Adamson talks to FT columnist and author Simon Kuper.
EU Confidential: The POLITICO team discusses Europe’s response to the heat wave and cryptocurrency regulation with Coinbase chief Faryar Shirzad and Green MEP Ernest Urtasun.
On the Couch: Lucy Beresford talks to the Independent’s John Rentoul.
The Bunker: Author Jamie Susskind discusses regulating the internet with Ros Taylor, Gavin Esler and Yasmeen Serhan.
The Economist Asks: Anne McElvoy discusses U.S. border crossings with Republican Senator Ted Cruz.
The Rundown: The PolHome team interviews former Welsh Secretary Simon Hart.
Women with Balls: Katy Balls talks to former Prisons Minister Cindy Yu.
WESTMINSTER WEATHER: 🌧🌧🌧 Rain, glorious rain. Highs of 22C. The heat and sun will return over the weekend.
New gigs: Public First has made Thais Portilho — a former journalist who also managed the Hacked Off campaign — its new head of comms. Aubrey Powers is now voter protection director for the Maine Democratic Party, having previously been trade and investment manager for the U.K.’s Department for International Trade and a Hillary Clinton 2016 alum.
New lobby: Josiah Mortimer of MyLondon has launched a new City Hall journalists’ group — a sort of lobby for hacks covering London government. As he says, “There’s not many of us but a £19 billion budget to scrutinize!”
SPOTTED: MI6 chief Richard Moore briefly chatting after his Aspen Security Forum event in Colorado on Thursday morning with former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison.
BIRTHDAYS: Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh … West Bromwich West MP Shaun Bailey … Scottish Lib Dems leader Alex Cole-Hamilton … Former Tory MP Anthony Steen … BBC Radio 4 presenter Carolyn Quinn … GB News presenter Darren Grimes … and Prince George of Cambridge turns 9.
Celebrating over the weekend: Former Unite boss Len McCluskey turns 72 … Former Solicitor General Ross Cranston … DUP MLA David Hilditch … The Mail on Sunday’s Anna Mikhailova … Former SpAd Henry Newman … Chatham & Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch … Former Reserves Minister Julian Brazier … Tory peer Jonathan Hill … Independent peer and former Culture Secretary Chris Smith … Founder of ConservativeHome and UnHerd Tim Montgomerie.
PLAYBOOK COULDN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT: My editor Zoya Sheftalovich, reporter Andrew McDonald and producer Grace Stranger.
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