Daily Archives: June 16, 2009

Sir John Sawers, the UK ambassador to the UN, is to become the new head of the Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6. Most of the coverage tomorrow is likely to focus on how unusual it is for an outsider to be appointed chief – or “C” as it is still called. But that’s not the only interesting thing to say about this highly gifted and well respected diplomat. Here’s my own little CX report on the new “C” (we, of course, apply all the usual intelligence caveats).

1) His nickname in the Foreign Office was “Jonny Blue Eyes”. He was a popular chap. 

The John Bercow for Speaker juggernaut keeps rolling on. He is the 9/5 clear favourite and his odds just keep on shortening. But will this last? Surely a “Stop Bercow” candidate will emerge? Won’t they?

Many MPs are aghast at the thought of a Bercow era in the chair. The reaction of Bercow’s colleagues on the Tory benches is unprintable. They don’t like his style, mannerisms, his political journey from the hard right to squishy centre, or his “new best friends” on the Labour benches. With feelings so strong you would have thought the alternative would be clear by now. But the stop Bercow camp are still waiting for their saviour. 

Jim Pickard

MPs on the justice select committee were supposed to be going to South Africa – to find out more about prisons – on a five-day trip next week. 

Jim Pickard

George Parker reveals the identity of Brown’s “suave” new spin-doctor in the FT

The new spin-doctor (Simon Lewis): A potted history 

Ben Hall has a good piece on French jitters over David Cameron.

In a book entitled A European in a Hurry, Jean-Dominique Giuliani, who is close to the Elysée, quotes Mr Sarkozy as telling Mr Cameron: “We want the Conservatives to stay with us. It is important politically. If not, we won’t work with you, even on a bilateral level.”