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Chris Mullin: In Court, Again, 7 April 2022

... to the official mindset when my book about the case, Error of Judgment, was published in 1986. ‘Chris Mullin,’ Dear writes, ‘is an individual of questionable motives.’ And at another point: ‘I do not need to labour less disingenuous motives for his behaviour.’ The implication seems to be that I was in league with the IRA. Is that still his ...


Chris Mullin: A report from Westminster, 25 June 2009

... I should also report that one other wildly improbable name has been mentioned: moi. ‘Mr Speaker Mullin,’ Nick Robinson called as I was on the phone in the Members’ Lobby, and when I laughed he said: ‘Several people have mentioned your name.’ And tonight, on Newsnight, Jeremy Paxman asked if I was running. Much as I’d love to, I can’t, of ...

Short Cuts

Chris Mullin: Michael Foot, 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 enhance ...

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Chris Mullin: Anonymous and Abuse, 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 up ...

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Chris Mullin: Corbyn the ‘Collaborator’, 8 March 2018

... 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 1986 and 1987, appear to have taken place over a cup of tea in the House of Commons; the third took place at Corbyn’s constituency office in Islington ...

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Chris Mullin: Parliamentary Priorities, 24 May 2018

... 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 absence of recognisable faces ...


Chris Mullin, 19 March 2020

... By​ far 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 ...

Terror Was Absolute

Chris Mullin: Vietnam, 18 July 2019

Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-75 
by Max Hastings.
Collins, 722 pp., £9.99, May 2019, 978 0 00 813301 6
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... 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 ...


Chris Mullin: The Birmingham Bombers, 21 February 2019

... for the name of the other man, but he refused to tell me. As I left, he said: ‘No offence Mr Mullin, but I never want to see you again.’ I learned from other sources that the other planter was called James Francis Gavin. It was from his house in Bordesley Green that the bombers had set out. By the time I was told about him, Gavin was in Portlaoise ...

The Card-Players

Paul Foot, 18 September 1986

Error of Judgment: The Truth about the Birmingham Bombings 
by Chris Mullin.
Chatto, 270 pp., £10.95, July 1986, 0 7011 2978 6
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... able to get away with mistakes, inconsistencies and far worse. No praise is too high, then, for Chris Mullin and the way he has pursued the Birmingham bombings case over the past eight years. He has tried to influence other journalists with access to larger circulations than he had when he was editor of Tribune. From most of them (including me) he got ...

A Good Girl in Africa

D.A.N. Jones, 16 September 1982

Double Yoke 
by Buchi Emecheta.
Dgwugwu Afor, 163 pp., £3, September 1982, 0 9508177 0 8
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The Aerodrome 
by Rex Warner.
Bodley Head, 304 pp., £6.95, July 1982, 9780370309262
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AVery British Coup 
by Chris Mullin.
Hodder, 220 pp., £6.95, September 1982, 0 340 28586 9
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An Ice Cream War 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 370 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 241 10868 3
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Tempting Fate 
by Michael Levey.
Hamish Hamilton, 220 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 241 10801 2
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... and Communism: but it is so like a Greek tragedy about a Roman emperor that it seems timeless. Chris Mullin has attempted a realistic novel about a much more successful coup, in 1989. ‘British’ is the word to emphasise in A Very British Coup. We are concerned here with a Labour prime minister – a non-Oxonian, working-class version of Tony Benn ...

Spookery, Skulduggery

David Runciman: Chris Mullin, 4 April 2019

The Friends of Harry Perkins 
by Chris Mullin.
Scribner, 185 pp., £12, March 2019, 978 1 4711 8248 8
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... 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 the politics of the 1970s. The novel tells the story of Harry Perkins, a Bennite leader of the Labour Party, who wins power at a general election but has it prised away from him by a conspiracy of securocrats, tycoons and Labour turncoats ...

More ‘out’ than ‘on’

Glen Newey: Chris Mullin’s Diaries, 27 August 2009

A View from the Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin 
by Chris Mullin.
Profile, 590 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 1 84668 223 0
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... revive it for the next election. Before he was elected Labour MP for Sunderland South in 1987, Chris Mullin was prominent in the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, as the editor of Tribune in the mid-1980s, and notably in the campaign to quash the Birmingham Six’s convictions. As he comments here – no doubt part joke and part apologia – the ...

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David Runciman: Tony and Jeremy, 20 April 2017

... leadership, despite the opposition of some members of the group, including Margaret Beckett and Chris Mullin. Benn describes himself as ‘peaceful in my own mind’ about this outcome because it had been a collective decision, not an act of personal vanity. Corbyn’s chairmanship of the group helped salve his conscience. Benn was less at ease when ...

The Absolute End

Theo Tait: Ali Smith, 26 January 2012

There but for the 
by Ali Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 356 pp., £16.99, June 2011, 978 0 241 14340 7
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... for ‘readable’, ‘enjoyable’ books that ‘zip along’. But I felt some sympathy for Chris Mullin when he complained that the London literary world – ‘those who know best’ – had told him and his fellow panellists, from the outset, which books they ‘must’ include on the shortlist, and had reacted with fury when they were ...

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