Posts Tagged ‘Titanic’

Campaign Uncut: Heat on Sue Gray from senior Labour ranks as worries rise of ‘too little politics, too many civil servants’

24/05/2024, 11:59:56 PM

Welcome dear reader to the wrap from day 2 of the campaign:

1. Bubbling under the surface: Heat on Sue Gray from senior Labour ranks as worries rise of ‘too little politics, too many civil servants’

While Rishi Sunak’s campaign flubs continue to dominate the news agenda, behind the curtain in Labour land there is rising worry at the direction Sue Gray is taking LOTO.  Before Wednesday, there was already an undercurrent of concern across the senior ranks of Labour politicians and advisers at her Whitehall-isation of Keir Starmer’s office, with politics subordinated and an increasing focus on hiring ex-civil servants.  The sudden announcement of the election, with the prospect that the LOTO team will be in Number 10 in a matter of weeks, has exacerbated worries.

One senior Labour adviser commented, “She’s trying to be Cabinet Secretary and recreate the machinery of the civil service, but that’s not what a Labour PM needs, there’s already a civil service with a Cabinet Secretary; this Labour leader, who has only been an MP since 2015, needs political counsel”

Another source familiar with the conversations occurring across the shadow cabinet and senior Labour MPs summarised the issue as “too little politics, too many civil servants.”

Tensions between Morgan McSweeney and Sue Gray have been widely reported and any potential move by McSweeney out of LOTO into a safe seat, as Uncut reported yesterday, would tip the balance in LOTO further towards Whitehall priorities.

A key point of immediate contention is on who will be Sue Gray’s deputy chief of staff. There is a widespread understanding that this role needs to be a Labour rather than ex-civil service figure, but given the dividing lines between Labour and Whitehall factions, the danger is that the deputy chief of staff becomes the de facto leader of those who favour a more overtly political direction for Keir Starmer’s office.

2. Gaffe of the day: Rishi Sunak, captain of the Titanic

It was closely contested with Sunak’s photo-opp on the plane by the exit sign but positioning the PM as the captain of the Titanic had to be the winner. James McCarthy’s full piece is well worth a read, if only for the use of one of the greatest quotes from The Thick Of It, “Like a clown running across a minefield”


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon