Jim Pickard over at the FT Westminster blog got the story last night that Lord Maurice Glasman has “turned down” the opportunity to write a weekly column for the new Sun on Sunday paper. According to Pickard, the decision came after a discussion between the “Blue Labour” peer and Ed Miliband, who is believed to have urged Glasman to avoid Murdoch’s overtures.
The decision could be a costly one for the peer, as the column was said to be worth £1000 a week. However considering the anger expressed by many within the party (including a number of MPs close to the leader) it’s not surprising that Miliband urged the maverick Lord to “think again”. He shouldn’t be short of cash though, as he still receives a daily allowance for attending the Lords (where he can often be found on the terrace, smoking his trademark roll up cigarettes).
Glasman and the Sun on Sunday always seemed like an unlikely fit. His much quoted recent piece in the New Statesman featured the phrase “the fraternisation of impossibles”, which suggested that the Sun were less interested in his writing style and more interested in his proximity to (and criticism of, Ed Miliband).
Team Ed will have breathed a sigh of relief that Glasman has not provided the “new” paper with that opportunity. Yet.
Update: News International seem to be denying that Glasman was offered a column. That’s not what I’m hearing – in fact, I’m told the rumoured £50k per year for a column may well have been an underestimation of the potential fee.
There are also unconfirmed rumours circulating that Glasman intended to donate any earnings from the column to the Labour Party, an act that might have softened the blow for some within the party.