ANDREW PIERCE: Can Suella Braverman win the Battle of Waterlooville?

ANDREW PIERCE: Can Suella Braverman win the Battle of Waterlooville?

Home Secretary Suella Braverman will today continue her battle with Labour as the Commons holds the first vote on her ‘Stop the Boats’ Illegal Migration Bill.

But Braverman is also locked in another political duel which could have far more serious consequences for her political career.

The feisty frontbencher, who ran for the Tory leadership after the fall of Boris Johnson, is fighting for her political life because boundary changes mean her Fareham constituency is to be merged with neighbouring Meon Valley at the next election.

This means she is having to compete for the nomination for the new seat of Fareham and Waterlooville with neighbouring Tory MP Flick Drummond.

Braverman, pictured, is not universally popular among Tory members. Some would prefer a local champion like backbencher Drummond to a high-profile Cabinet minister. But senior Tories are desperate for her to win the selection battle later this month. ‘How will it look if the Home Secretary, piloting the most contentious Government legislation in years, is dumped by her local party?’ asks one senior party figure.

Braverman is also locked in another political duel which could have far more serious consequences for her political career

Local Tory activists, however, resent the party HQ interfering in candidate selections. ‘It’s the only power they’ve got,’ observes one battle-hardened operative at HQ. ‘They often do the opposite to what they think the leadership wants.’

Braverman will be hoping she’s Wellington rather than Napoleon in the Battle of Waterlooville.

Comedian and author David Baddiel tweeted prophetically on Saturday: ‘What if Match Of The Day turns out to be better without commentators and pundits?’ Overnight ratings yesterday revealed viewing figures went up by 500,000 week on week. 

Oh no, not another Hancock leak!

As Matt Hancock continues to belly-ache over his WhatsApp messages being leaked, former chancellor George Osborne reveals the ex-health secretary was involved in another messaging mix-up on the eve of the 2007 Tory conference.

In The Spectator, Osborne recalls that he intended to email his speech — outlining a huge rise in the inheritance tax threshold — to Hancock, who was then his chief of staff. Unfortunately it went a LibDem MP called Mike Hancock.

Osborne writes: ‘If he had read his inbox and published it, our conference would have been a disaster not a triumph, and Gordon Brown would have called a general election rather than cancelling it.’

Given Matt Hancock’s record, perhaps the message was safer going to Mike after all.

How things have turned upside down in Scottish politics, where Lefties used to berate Tories for being posh. Humza Yousaf, favourite to be SNP leader, was educated at fee-paying Hutchesons’ Grammar School. So was Anas Sarwar, leader of Scottish Labour. Douglas Ross, the Scottish Tories’ leader, is the only one of them to have gone to a ‘comp’. 

Sir Bernard Ingham, Margaret Thatcher’s press secretary who died last month aged 90, knew what to expect at the Pearly Gates. On a train passing Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire, where he grew up, he once said: ‘You are nearer to Heaven now than you will ever be on earth.’ 

History mural ignores Mrs T 

There is at least one scandalous omission from a mural claiming to show the 130 most significant women in British history, to be hung at the National Portrait Gallery.

Work In Progress, by Jann Haworth and Liberty Blake, was inspired by The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album cover, which Haworth co-created in 1967 with her husband at the time and Liberty’s father, Peter Blake. The women include Elizabeth I, Diane Abbott, Britain’s first black woman MP, Maureen Colquhoun, the first openly gay woman MP, and the suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

But the exhibit has no space for Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s female prime minister and the longest-serving occupant of No 10 in the 20th century. Why?

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