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Steerpike is The Spectator’s gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from London and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk.

Murphy in government (left) and now (right) (Photos: UK Government, BBC)

Jim Murphy – is Scottish Labour dyeing?

30 October 2014 17:27

While watching Scottish Labour leader frontrunner Jim Murphy launch his campaign today, you might be forgiven for thinking the teetotaller has been hitting the bottle. The bottle of hair dye,… Continue reading

By Jules Morgan from Montreal, Canada (Cheese soufflé  Uploaded by Fæ) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sup with a long spoon at the new Shepherd’s

29 October 2014 18:58

The news that Westminster lunch ‘institution’ Shepherd’s is to reopen its doors after closing them eighteen months ago has been greeted with enthusiasm, not least by the cheese soufflé devotees of SW1. But… Continue reading

Nicky Morgan: did you say that out loud? (Photo: AFP/Getty)

Did she say that out loud? Gay marriage muddle from Nicky Morgan

29 October 2014 10:49

Mixed messaging from education secretary Nicky Morgan, who also moonlights as the equalities minister: Despite saying previously that ‘marriage to me is between a man and a woman’, and voting… Continue reading

Neville Thurlbeck (Photo: Getty)

Should Cameron be worried about Neville Thurlbeck’s New Year surprise?

28 October 2014 11:55

Given how close the phone-hacking scandal got to the heart of Downing Street, the Tories will be hoping nothing will provoke more questions this side of the election about Cameron’s hiring of… Continue reading

This year's winner, Diesel and Rob Flello MP

Westminster’s gone barking

24 October 2014 10:40

It’s that time of year again – sandwiched between conference season and the Autumn statement – when the nation’s political pooches (and their owners) descend on Westminster. Yes, yesterday saw the… Continue reading

(Photo: WPA Pool/Getty)

Palace intrigue – is Her Majesty’s press corps on the verge of revolt?

23 October 2014 17:38

Her Majesty’s Loyal Press Corps are on the verge of revolt. Minutes of a recent meeting of the Press Gallery Committee – seen by The Spectator – show that a… Continue reading

Nigel Farage at the Bolton Arms Pub in April 2014 (Photo: Getty)

Breitbart’s loss is Nigel Farage’s gain – or is it?

23 October 2014 14:51

It’s no great surprise that Raheem Kassam, the troublesome managing editor of Breitbart London, has left his job. Kassam is a wildly self-important figure who flits about on the internet… Continue reading


Gunpowder, treason and caviar – selling out in Westminster, Guido style

22 October 2014 12:20

If you’re going to sell out to the establishment, you might as well do so on an industrial scale. As the PM told the Guido Fawkes blog’s ten -ear anniversary… Continue reading

Two quiet men

Meet the NFL player who admires Iain Duncan Smith

21 October 2014 16:02

Connections between Iain Duncan Smith and NFL players may be few and far between. But Mr S is pleased to have discovered one. Colin Kaepernick, an American football quarterback for the… Continue reading


Robert Peston falls for the Spirit Level theory of equality

20 October 2014 17:41

Robert Peston was recently at Lincoln’s Inn for the launch of schools charity Primary Futures, which all sounds very worthy. He started off apologising for looking scruffy, then spoke at some… Continue reading

Madeleine Gurdon, Rocco Forte and Andrew Lloyd-Webber (Photo: Getty)

Champagne Tories, and a ring of truth from Bell

17 October 2014 12:56

It was Eighties night at Mark’s Club on Thursday evening for the launch of Tory PR guru Lord Bell’s memoirs. Some refreshing honesty from the spin man, who admitted ‘I… Continue reading


Watch: James Delingpole finds Michael Gove lurking in his garden

16 October 2014 15:24

Mr Steerpike is not really sure what is going on here, but he felt it deserved a wider audience. So the Government Chief Whip had a ramble through James Delingpole’s… Continue reading

(Photo from BBC News)

What’s the opposite of a champagne socialist? Phillip Blond

14 October 2014 11:44

Phillip Blond, sporting tinted specs for this morning’s devolution debate, is famed in the wonkier side of Westminster for his unique style. The self-styled ‘Red Tory’, who split with the Cameroons… Continue reading

Neil and Christine Hamilton  (Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty)

Mrs Neil Hamilton for Ukip MP?

14 October 2014 10:32

Like a bad smell, Neil Hamilton continues to linger around Westminster. The disgraced MP, who came to embody Tory sleaze by the time he lost his seat in 1997, has… Continue reading

(Photo: Justin Tallis/Getty)

Nigel Farage takes inspiration from Al Gore

10 October 2014 15:38

Al Gore is an unlikely source of inspiration for Ukip – in fact the party once pledged to ban the former Vice President’s controversial climate change documentary from schools, calling… Continue reading

You might get more answers from the Conservatives' Miliband merchandise than from the man himself. (Photo:  Carl Court, AFP/Getty Images)

Ed Miliband does not want to talk about Heywood and Middleton

10 October 2014 14:19

listen to ‘Podcast: Ukip's Clacton victory’ on audioBoom Labour are doing their absolute best to put a positive spin on their result in the Heywood and Middleton by-election, despite coming… Continue reading

Douglas Carswell poses outside a polling station in Clacton-on-Sea (Photo: Ben Stansall, AFP)

New party, same old politics for Douglas Carswell

9 October 2014 16:49

Douglas Carswell is not like normal politicians; he’s authentic, genuine and in touch with real people. Or so the spin goes. So what was today’s by-election-day stunt at a polling… Continue reading

(Photo: Topical Press Agency, Hulton Archive)

A new low for NHS doublespeak

8 October 2014 13:20

Orwell had it that political writing is ‘defence of the indefensible,’ and that ‘political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.’ For the latest example,… Continue reading


Gleeful end to Lib Dem conference

8 October 2014 11:03

listen to ‘Podcast: Nick Clegg's speech’ on audioBoom Nick Clegg put in an appearance at Glee Club last night – albeit only in 2-dimensional form as a cardboard cutout –… Continue reading

(Image: Illustration from 'Where's Boris?' by Wan at Monkey Feet, Orion Books)

The Mayor of London is a wally: official

7 October 2014 15:51

Far from it being Mr Steerpike’s prerogative to call a former editor of the Spectator a wally, he was rather amused by Boris’s latest escapade. Now we can all relive those classic… Continue reading

Nick Clegg at the Lib Dem conference (Photo: Getty)

Nick Clegg takes a page from David Cameron's style guide

6 October 2014 17:30

What exactly is going on with Nick Clegg’s conference get-up in Glasgow? As of this writing, the Deputy Prime Minister is wearing his third outfit of the day – casual jeans and a… Continue reading


MC Dave and post-modern politics

3 October 2014 17:32

After David Cameron’s conference speech, Mr S noticed a YouTube video of the Prime Minister all over Facebook and Twitter. For a moment it looked like a great coup for… Continue reading


Salmond cancels first south of border appearance

3 October 2014 16:31

Alex Salmond is licking his wounds up north in the wake of his defeat in the Scottish referendum. After describing being booed by golf fans at the Ryder Cup as… Continue reading

Michael Dugher

Michael Dugher names Tory rival as greatest living Yorkshireman

3 October 2014 9:15

Professional Yorkshireman and Labour attack dog Michael Dugher was quick to jump on the Prime Minister’s claim that William Hague was the greatest living Yorkshireman. Telling the BBC yesterday that… Continue reading

Image: Getty

Tory faithful send the PM a clear message on Gove

1 October 2014 17:01

Many Tories had begun to wonder where Michael Gove had got to. The Chief Whip’s move from the Department for Education was heralded with a briefing that he would be… Continue reading