Chris Mullin

Chris Mullin was the Labour MP for Sunderland South from 1987 to 2010.


Chris Mullin, 19 March 2020

Byfar the worst appointment made by Boris Johnson in his cabinet reshuffle last month was that of Anne-Marie Trevelyan as secretary of state for international development. An ardent Brexiteer, Trevelyan has no known interest in overseas development; just about her only previous public utterance on the subject was an observation that ‘charity begins at home.’ But then she is...

Short Cuts: Anonymous and Abuse

Chris Mullin, 21 November 2019

One​ Saturday some years ago, while cycling over Wearmouth Bridge in the centre of Sunderland, my young daughters and I got mixed up with the football crowd. ‘There’s that MP,’ someone sneered. ‘Gas him,’ someone else responded. Not ‘Kill him’ or ‘Throw him in the river,’ but ‘Gas him.’ I don’t mind admitting we speeded...

Terror Was Absolute: Vietnam

Chris Mullin, 18 July 2019

The Chinese​ occupied Vietnam for the best part of a thousand years, up to the tenth century. They attacked it again in 1979. The Mongols launched three invasions in the 13th century. The French colonised the country in the 1850s along with its neighbours Laos and Cambodia. Then the Japanese invaded in 1940, and allowed the French pro-Vichy colonial regime to remain. Roosevelt had been...

Diary: The Birmingham Bombers

Chris Mullin, 21 February 2019

He lived on a bleak housing estate and was in his early thirties. He had been involved in seven or eight other city-centre bombings before the pub bombings. He set out to give me a sanitised version of his career, but as we started discussing the night of 21 November his voice began to tremble and fade away. At first, he lied, saying he had been warned to stay at home that night because something big was going to happen. ‘I think you were in the pubs,’ I said to him. There was a long silence. We were sitting on the floor. He stared straight ahead, smoking. Then it all came tumbling out. This is what he told me.

The​ other day, after lunch in the Palace of Westminster, I made my way to the atrium of Portcullis House, where hundreds of MPs have their offices, and settled down at a table which allowed a clear view of the entire space, with its water features and two rows of fig trees. If you sit there long enough the whole world passes by. On this Wednesday afternoon, however, I was struck by the...

‘Corbyn​ and the Commie Spy’ was the Sun’s front-page splash on 15 February: ‘Shock Claims in Secret File’, the strapline read, with a hammer and sickle at either end. The story was based on recently declassified documents in the Czech Security Forces Archive which record three meetings between Corbyn and a Czech diplomat. Two of the meetings, which occurred in...

Short Cuts: Michael Foot

Chris Mullin, 25 March 2010

Of all the many tributes to Michael Foot it was David Cameron who hit the nail on the head. He was, Cameron said, ‘almost the last link to a more heroic age in politics’. In appearance, and demeanour, Foot resembled an Old Testament prophet. An impression which, in later life, his shock of white hair, the passion of his delivery and the magnificence of his rhetoric served only to...

Diary: a report from Westminster

Chris Mullin, 25 June 2009

As I walked in through Speaker’s Court, who should I see but Tony Blair, looking tanned and fit, surrounded by bag-carriers and bodyguards. Just like old times. He must be glad to be out of it. Even his considerable skills couldn’t dig us out of the big, dark pit into which we have fallen.

‘Every prime minister since Blair has supported Britain’s involvement’ in the war in Iraq, Tom Stevenson writes (LRB, 1 July). At the time maybe, but not subsequently. In his memoir My Life, Our Times (2017), Gordon Brown writes: ‘We were misled by the Americans and the intelligence services. In retrospect I regret that I did not press as hard as I should have. By not questioning...

Spookery, Skulduggery: Chris Mullin

David Runciman, 4 April 2019

Chris Mullin’s​ A Very British Coup was a nostalgic book that turned into a prophetic one. First published in 1982 and set towards the end of that decade, it nonetheless recalled...

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I’m on research leave in Finland, which, like any well-ordered social democracy, but unlike the UK, maintains an air of strenuously contained bedlam. Public notices in Finnish look as if...

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The Card-Players

Paul Foot, 18 September 1986

For several weeks after 21 November 1974 most Irish people in Birmingham took cover. Even the most respected and entrenched felt unsafe. Outrage and grief overwhelmed the city and spread far...

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A Good Girl in Africa

D.A.N. Jones, 16 September 1982

Buchi Emecheta’s novel is dedicated to her 1981 students at the University of Calabar. Double Yoke is a tale of student life at that university and evidently the teacher has learned a great...

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Post-Bourgeois Man

Peter Jenkins, 1 October 1981

He has come a long way. Born the Hon. Anthony Wedgwood Benn, he inevitably became by public-school nickname ‘Wedgie’ and later, by his own socialist deed-poll, plain ‘Tony...

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