The Forsyth Effect: Is Rishi Sunak’s Old School Friend Shaking Up the Government?


After a slow start as prime minister, Rishi Sunak has recently been at the mercy of an EU deal, asylum policy and global summits. What has changed? It could be the arrival of his new political secretary and old friend James Forsyth. The couple attended Winchester College together and Sunak was best man at Forsyth’s wedding.

Forsyth was political editor of The Spectator but went to Downing Street on Christmas Eve. Since then, his old boss, Spectator editor Fraser Nelson, has noticed “the Forsyth Effect in #10.” Nelson said he tried to get Forsyth to stay, but “he thought this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Last year, Forsyth wrote that Sunak could beat Keir Starmer in an election. Tory MPs have seen a difference: one recently praised “competent and thoughtful government”. That brings variety.

Andrew Marr laments the ‘terrified’ BBC

Andrew Marr

/ David Benett

Commenting on the BBC’s recent crisis, former BBC Politics Editor Andrew Marr said the company was “terrified, hemmed in on all sides by hostile rivals” and treating the government with the “twitching nervousness of an abused spouse”. Writing in the New Statesman, Marr, who left in 2021, ex-colleagues told him CEO Tim Davie “screwed it up and should step down now”. Although Marr thinks leader Richard Sharp, the Tory donor and friend of Boris Johnson, should go, reform would be better than a change in leadership. Marr says the BBC should abandon the idea of ​​”impartiality” and instead become the country’s “town square” for civilized political discussions. That seems a long way off now.

High with the kids

Hanif Kureishi

/ Adrian Loury

Is using drugs with your kids the ultimate taboo? Writer Hanif Kureishi, right, who took to writing soul-enhancing letters online after a fall in Italy that left him in hospital, admits “I’ve had great cocaine nights with my kids”. Kureishi adds, “I know friends who take MDMA with their kids, although I wouldn’t do it for fear of talking too much.” It’s good to have boundaries.

Valley floor?

The government has submitted applications to become the next governor of Gibraltar, in what some might consider one of the most comfortable public service jobs. The winning candidate gets to boss people around in the Mediterranean sun. A key skill is ‘the ability to project authority and inspire trust’ and part of the job is negotiating with the EU. Could one of our many idle former PMs send us a resume?

McCartney’s in the house

At Sotheby’s on New Bond Street, Mary McCartney announced her takeover of the gallery. She has been supported by famous friends and family led by dad Sir Paul. McCartney’s Can We Have a Moment? is an inventory of her photographs of the last 30 years and runs until April. “I love observing life, observing what’s happening around me,” she said. Guests included US actress Rita Wilson and singers Mel C and Jess Glynne. Nick Grimshaw and his partner Meshach Henry were also there. The Forsyth Effect: Is Rishi Sunak’s Old School Friend Shaking Up the Government?

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