Saturday, 16 May 2015

Thoughts on 1st week back in the Commons: Labour plotting, few Libs and SNP in force

Much to report: a new job, a new government, lots of SNP, not a liberal in the Commons, Alex Salmond drinking beer not pink champagne, and the sad sight of lots of former colleagues - some friends, some foes - clearing their offices; oh, and the Conservatives getting on with the job of being in government.

The scene after an election is a bit like the aftermath of a big battle. Some are gone and never seen again - as they simply never come back to the Commons and post their pass back. Some of the defeated linger and stare wistfully at the Chamber they are no longer allowed to enter. All of the defeated commons passes expired Wednesday at midnight. I passed one liberal democrat who was a friend of mine on the escalator as he was leaving: neither of us knew what to say -"stay in touch" were his parting words. One labour MP from Scotland, who had been particularly robust in his approach to me in various clashes in the Commons, simply avoided my gaze and looked down so as not to catch my eye.

The SNP are on robust form. The 20 year old Mhairi Black - who is the youngest MP for hundreds of years - is clearly the star of the show to such an extent that even Alex Salmond is being overshadowed. I introduced myself to Salmond in the commons library on Tuesday and we chatted. Later he was seen on the commons terrace with a pint of beer. I would question whether he really wants to be back as a smaller part of a big team in Westminster.

For my part I am delighted to be promoted to be part of the Whips office. The team are great and we are at the heart of government going forward. It will be fascinating. I will blog in more detail in the next few weeks on the changes this appointment will bring.

Most of Labour have not yet returned to the Commons but small groups can be found in corners plotting, working out who to back in the leadership contest. The word is that the 2 Brownite dinosaurs Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper will fight it out, as the younger modernisers lack the required Union backing, or else have withdrawn from the race. The labour leadership still remains a completely Union based affair - put simply those with the biggest union support win. To that end I find it amazing that Jim Murphy, one of the most decent people in the Labour Party, and a fellow
Former player in the House of Commons football team, is being ousted by Len McCluskey, a union leader, who should have no say in the matter.
Full details here: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/14/len-mccluskey-tells-scottish-labour-jim-murphy-resign-election-defeat

Conservatives are on chipper form, with lots of new intake, and true praise for the amazing female candidates who beat Balls, Cable and Reckless. I have genuinely not seen a single Liberal MP save the one who bid me farewell.
Finally, one former Scottish labour MP has expressed his true feelings to the electorate: http://www.scotsman.com/news/odd/brian-donohoe-s-f-word-goodbye-to-constituents-1-3772868

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