Gobby government adviser blabs about Duncan Smith demotion on afternoon train journey
A LOUD-MOUTHED government adviser blurted out that Tory Iain Duncan Smith is set be axed as Work and Pensions Secretary to a train carriage, a sharp-eared passenger told the Morning Star yesterday.
Sarah Quinney said a “very posh” young woman made the claim in a phone call to a political pal about the expected government reshuffle during a journey to London.
Ms Quinney explained how the woman who “obviously worked somewhere high up” brazenly blabbed about the futures of Mr Dunan Smith and current Employment Minister Esther McVey.
She told the Star: “She said very clearly that the reshuffle is happening on Monday. That Iain had been unhappy for a while and was happy to go.
“She said Iain had been very upset that the Treasury kept vetoing their ideas.
“She said, ‘you know Esther wants the job but was worried that she pissed too many people off.’ Those were her exact words.”
Ms Quinney said she couldn’t help but overhear the conversation during her hour-and-a-half trip from Chichester to London Victoria at around 4.40pm on Thursday.
The gossiping government insider is thought to be Department for Work and Pensions special advisor Romilly Dennys.
When shown a photo of Ms Dennys and asked to confirm it was the same woman on the train, Ms Quinney said: “It looks an awful lot like her. It really does.”
The advisEr also talked about how she was travelling back to London from a meeting with Tory Portsmouth South parliamentary hopeful Flick Drummond, her fellow passenger said.
“It was quite quiet on the train and she was talking very loudly,” said Ms Quinney.
“It was almost like she was showing off. A bit like ‘look at me, I’m important in politics kind of phone call.’
“All the way from Gatwick to Victoria, she was speaking to this chap. They were ‘going to have drinks after the reshuffle’ — which I thought was the best quote ever.”
Ms Quinney, who works as a theatre stage manager and is a member of entertainment union Bectu, said she “isn’t a political person.”
But after speaking to her husband and sharing the story with friends on Twitter, she soon realised her careless co-passenger had let slip details of a government reshuffle.
Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to relegate senior Tories on Monday — including Mr Duncan Smith.
BBC deputy political editor James Landale wrote yesterday that Mr Duncan Smith is set to swap jobs with hardline Tory Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.
Ms McVey meanwhile could be set to join the Cabinet as Culture Secretary in Mr Cameron’s belated bid to get more women on his front bench.
The Star received a sheepish response when it put Ms Quinney’s claims to the Department for Work and Pensions.
A spokeswoman said: “We don’t know anything, obviously, until whenever the reshuffle happens.
“It’s all kind of a waiting game for us unfortunately.”
Disabled People Against Cuts spokeswoman Linda Burnip said it is about time the government acknowledge Mr Duncan Smith “is an imbecile and to get rid of him.”
But she added: “Whoever they replace him with, and it’s rumoured that will be Esther McVey, is going to be equally incompetent and nasty.
“It’s the really the policies that have to change not the people.”