Rishi Sunak is quietly ditching promised reforms of the Tory party
Has Rishi Sunak fallen out of love with Tory members? When he fought Liz Truss for the party leadership last summer, he called them the “bedrock” of the party. In an open letter of August 2022, Sunak promised to “make significant reforms to empower our members” if he became prime minister. His main pledge was a monthly survey of members. Their top three concerns each month would be discussed at Cabinet meetings, he said.
He also promised free tours of Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) for local association chairs. Neither pledge has materialised. A spokesperson for CCHQ said: “The Prime Minister is working with CCHQ and the wider party to get election-ready.” Meanwhile, not all Tory members seem happy about being sidelined. The Conservative Democratic Organisation, a pressure group fighting to “take back control” of the party, has grassroots support.
Arts Council England disappoints theatre-goers
Grim news for culture vultures. Audiences should expect “less risk taking” from theatres for the foreseeable future, says Darren Henley, the head of Arts Council England. Theatres have had particularly bad money troubles thanks to lockdowns and rising energy energy costs. Mr Henley’s Arts Council hasn’t helped everyone. Last year it made a brutal round of funding cuts.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer backs our broadcasters
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer is in a good mood. She says public service broadcasters like the BBC and Channel 4 have “kept pace” with changing times, and programming “reflects our national identity.” Hmm. Frazer’s predecessor but one, Nadine Dorries, was only last year freezing the licence fee and trying to sell off Channel 4. Frazer is drafing a new Media Bill. Is this an attempt to make friends?
Braverman hits back against Jewish critics of migration bill
Suella Braverman has got into another ugly row, this time with the Board of Deputies, the largest Jewish community organisation in the UK. The Board has criticised potential breaches of the UN refugee convention in the Home Secretary’s Illegal Migration Bill. Last night she responded by calling them “misinformed” and suggesting it wasn’t an “appropriate intervention”. Charming.
Sir David and Princess Beatrice enjoy immersive Earth event
Sir David Attenborough and Princess Beatrice enjoyed the BBC Earth Experience immersive show at the purpose-built Daikin Centre in Earl’s Court last night. Meanwhile, over in Southwark, Emma Weymouth and Donna Air were at the premiere of the Dalai Lama’s film Never Forget Tibet at Everyman Borough Yards. His friend Deepak Chopra presented the film with Romio Shrestha.