Morning update 26.03.15: Friends reunited, Blair and McBride, Jess and Jeremy


CA-d8dPWEAAc9aIREMEMBER the last night at O’Reilly’s in Kentish Town before it closed. Damian McBride, Gordon Brown’s former adviser, was in and tweeting rueful salutes to the pub as its final time bell approached. That night, ‘McPoison’ attacked Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer and the other Holborn and St Pancras candidates for not appearing to care about the closure of the bar and the passing of a little bit of local history. Despite his Labour loyalties, he urged people to ‘vote Blair’, as in his quiz team buddy Will Blair, the Conservative choice also at the farewell party. Well, he does not seem to have changed his mind. He donated a signed copy of Power Trip, a spicy memoir revealing all of the backstage tricks and schemes during his days following Brown, to a local Tory fund-raiser last night. Inside, he scribbled: ‘I hope this encourages you to vote Blair, and ensure the likes of me are never let into power again.’


SIMON Marcus’s campaign had some more Hampstead gold thrown into the pot on Tuesday night as well, with members paying £20 a pop to hear the Guido Fawkes blog writers Paul Staines and Harry Cole talk at a – and I’m quoting somebody else’s invite – ‘drinks reception of plots, rumours and conspiracy’. Sadly, ours must have got lost in the post, and the secretive invitation said only that it was being held at a ‘private home in Hampstead’.


ONCE upon a time Labour’s Sadiq Khan, the man Ken Livingstone this week tipped as the party’s most likely Londn mayoral candidate, could be found lawyer Lib Dem candidate Maajid Nawaz – back before Maajid’s party political life and when he was locked up in an Egyptian jail accused of promoting an Islamist group. On Tuesday, they were reunited, not for the first time, at the Channel 4 studios at Horseferry Road, as the broadcasters held a pre-election Twitter event to provide a bridge to speak to the young, gifted and as it turned out pretty angry. In his speech, Sadiq gave a rather hectoring shout for everybody in the room to get registered to vote, pointing around the room and ordering people to get their names on the roll. When everybody broke off into workshop, small round-table groups, Maajid said to a huddle of trendy under 25s: Did that just feel like a telling off? The trendy under 25s looked back at him en masse and replied enthusiastically yes, yes it did, before exclaiming that they were being patronised by Sadiq. With a couple of words, Maajid had won over this small sample, and got them glowering at potential Labour rival across the room. It was easy to leave thinking if Sadiq really does want to be Mayor of this city, he could do well to learn a few PR tips from the man he once represented to help him do it.


ALSO reunited at Channel 4’s #ifweranthings event were former Islington Labour colleagues Jeremy Corbyn and ex-councillor Jessica Asato (also a former Camden school governor). The pair may be seeing a lot more of each other if Jessica unseats the Conservatives in Norwich North and becomes an MP in May. There’s been a bit of talk in our constituency about Simon Marcus’s bravery at becoming a father while running for election Hampstead and Kilburn, and that extra challenge of combining nappy-changing with canvassing. He should tap up Jessica for tips. There she was on Tuesday with her little ‘un tucked up in a buggy having expanded her own family last year, looking anything but visibly tired. “Lot’s of people have jobs and have babies, Richard,” she told me, during the briefest of catch-ups in reception. The odds in Norwich North are wavering and Chloe Smith – the Tory perhaps best known for a savaging from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight, he asked whether she ever woke up and thought of herself as incompetent – might be right to look over her shoulder.


…but no Jill Fraser in the house?

 Green councillor Sian Berry adds her view on Simon Marcus’s council resignation

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