The Politician's Husband (2013) s01e01 Episode Script

Episode 1

1 Is it time? 'Surprise resignation today of Aiden Hoynes, Secretary of State 'for Business, Innovation and Skills 'and regarded as one of THE high flyers in the cabinet.
' For weeks, Westminster's been rife with rumours about his growing discontent with current Government policy.
In his letter to the Prime Minister, 'he implies he is resigning to "spend more time with the family" - 'but few believe that is really what lies behind it.
' It's all kicking off now, Minister.
'He's due to make a personal statement to the House later today.
'Perhaps then we will know the real reason behind his resignation 'from the Government.
'Aiden Hoynes and his wife Freya Gardner, junior Education Minister 'and a rising star in her own right, have two young children.
'Often dubbed The Golden Couple of Politics, 'their marriage is known to be solid, 'but the demands of a political marriage 'are bound to put pressure on any family.
' Thank you.
Thank you all.
Thanks, Lian.
Thanks.
Thank you all.
Thank you all.
How's he doing? There's his speech.
Tell him to check my amendment on para two.
To the end of the beginning.
'Order! Order! Personal statement, Mr Aiden Hoynes.
'Mr Speaker, too often the issue of immigration has been used 'as a political football, 'fuelled by inflated statistics in the tabloids 'to appease the anti-immigration prejudice in Britain.
' So when the Prime Minister first mooted his proposal for an indefinite moratorium on immigration, I was deeply concerned that should he attempt to force such drastic reform through before the election next year, not only will it prevent skilled workers coming here who we rely on for our desperately needed economic recovery, but it impeaches our humanitarian reputation in providing asylum for displaced people fleeing their own countries to escape death and persecution.
I did my best to persuade my Right Honourable Friend that his unilateral decision would play into the xenophobic prejudices of those who seek to turn us into Fortress Britain.
'But I could not dissuade him.
'Mr Speaker, while I appreciate the Prime Minister's poor approval ratings 'are a matter of concern to him' Dita! Look.
It's Daddy! '.
.
his readiness to trample on human rights' in a craven attempt to attract votes is of greater concern to me.
Hear, hear! I therefore came to the reluctant conclusion that I could no longer serve in my Right Honourable Friend's Government.
I know some in the House will condemn my resignation as disloyalty, Mr Speaker.
Yes! Yes! But I do so because it is the right thing to do.
And because my loyalty lies not just to my party, but to my country.
It is for others to decide where their own loyalty lies.
'Westminster is in leadership crisis mode 'since Aiden Hoynes' incendiary resignation speech 'which can only be interpreted as a bid for leadership.
'He's known to have significant back bench support 'but he must also get support from the heavyweights in cabinet 'to make his bid credible.
' 'As yet, there's been no word from the Prime Minister's office.
' Hoynes residence, Dita speaking.
It's done.
'I saw.
' Such a speech you wrote for him! How are the kids? 'They're good.
' The press will descend any minute.
'Draw the curtains, lock the front door and don't answer the phone.
Grandfather's on his way.
And keep an eye on Noah.
15 minute interview at three o'clock.
Clock's running, guys! Let's beat the grass on this! "Chancellor due on the World at One".
We know which way he'll jump.
No cabinet ministers have commented yet - nothing on PoliticsHome.
Statement from Barrow.
First out the gate - good man! "Courageous stand by Aiden Hoynes.
" Dracott's blogging! "Given the challenges the country faces, "Aiden Hoynes' leadership bid is badly misjudged and not supported by his cabinet colleagues.
" Self-serving little shit.
I thought he was solid? He was, last night.
He's been got at.
And we can quote you on that? Anything from Bruce? Voice mail.
Any tweets from him? Er, Guardian Blog - "No comment as of yet from Home Office or Treasury".
Anything from Guido Fawkes yet? No.
"Education Minister backs beleaguered Prime Minister".
Who tweeted that? Sky News.
Attorney General and Northern Ireland Secretary, "full confidence in the Prime Minister".
It's too early to blink yet.
Bruce will turn it around for us.
Where the hell is he? Statement from Downing Street - "In such times of austerity, "disappointing a cabinet minister chose to put career ambitions ahead of party and country".
Tweet from The Times - "resignation speech more a suicide bid than a leadership bid".
Bruce is out! Wheels up, guys! Finally! 'I'm joined by Bruce Babbish, 'Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - can I ask you 'where you stand on Aiden Hoynes and his leadership bid, Minister? 'Let me start by saying this.
'Aiden Hoynes is a close personal friend.
'I've known him since university.
He was best man at my wedding.
'I'm godfather to his children.
'I know him to be a man of steadfast principle 'and complete integrity, which makes his actions today 'all the more baffling.
'He accused the Prime Minister of cynically using immigration 'to win votes when arguably he's done the same thing 'trying to peddle support for his ill-judged leadership bid.
'So this definitely is a leadership bid?' My God, what is he doing to us? 'To be honest, I'm still trying to get my head around why he went ahead with it.
'I have to tell you I'm not alone in that view.
Thank you.
' It's over.
Not everyone's come out yet.
We still have time to It's over.
Hello, Tom.
Thank you very much.
Nice to see you, Bob.
See you in a couple of days.
It's all right, Duncan.
Will this take long? I'm due at Number Ten - the reception for Putin.
That your reward, is it? How was it again, Bruce? "Resign," you said.
"You'll help rally the big beasts in cabinet," you said.
"I'll be in Number Ten by the recess," you said.
He who wields the knife never wears the crown.
Heseltine learnt that lesson.
It wasn't me who wielded the knife, was it? Remind me, who was it held your hand when Wanda walked out on your marriage? Hmm? Who was it had your back when your expenses thing blew up? Who was it held you together when you had the prostate scare last year and covered your arse in cabinet? Oh, wait - that would be me.
It was never going to fly.
Not once the PM put the thumbscrews on everyone.
So you just hung me out to dry? You're eliminating the competition.
That's what this is.
The office you hired for my campaign HQ, the mobile phones for the troops.
It was all for you.
All along it was for you.
You take all the oxygen, Aiden.
You always have.
They say the best place for an assassin to hide is in plain sight.
Or as a best friend.
Argh! Hurts, doesn't it? Ah! Ah! Ah! Are they still there? Don't worry, they'll be gone soon.
Want to go and play in the garden for a bit? Air Asia's changed their flight times! I'll miss the connection on the Emirates flight to Lagos.
Does it have to be Lagos? It has to start with "L" to be in alphabetical order! Islamabad, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Lagos.
Wait - Los Angeles! Cathay Pacific and China Eastern Airlines both fly there from Kuala Lumpur.
Hello? Hello? Anybody there? They're not coming in.
No-one's coming in.
Stay I'm not going anywhere.
Can you just, er, pull in over here? Just for a second.
Thank you.
Oh, my God, what is she doing? Snatching her 15 seconds of fame.
You go in.
I'll get shot of them.
No.
We need to be on message together on this.
And risk taking you down with me? My neck, my risk.
Hope it's worth it.
All right, let's make this a quick one, eh? A short statement only, OK? No questions.
I'm hardly alone in having misgivings about the Prime Minister's leadership.
But whoever is spreading these malicious rumours that my resignation is a leadership bid of my own is judging me by the paucity of their own moral standards.
Surely one can be a dissident without being accused of seeking high office? Arguably challenging the prevailing doctrine can be more effective than joining it.
OK, that's it, guys, short and sweet.
Thanks very much.
Daddy! Daddy! Hey, how's my Ruby? You were on TV, Daddy - I saw you! No, that was just someone who looked like me.
It was you, Daddy.
You had the same tie! Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby! My constituency officers want a meeting with me ASAP.
Can this day get any better? Did you not forewarn them what you were doing? And risk loyalists leaking it? You're only a traitor if you fail, aren't you? There's a story I used to tell my LSE students.
A Comintern agent radioed Vladivostok to relay a message to Stalin, requesting to blow up Hitler in some Munich cafe he frequented.
Three times he radioed, three times all they got was silence.
He'd made his own Faustian pact, too.
In his case, his non-aggression pact with Hitler.
So there was no pact between the PM and Bruce.
He's after a clear run for himself.
I knew he was the master of the dark arts.
I arrogantly assumed 20 years of friendship meant I was exempt.
Naive? Possibly.
But arrogant? It was arrogance made me listen to him.
How the cabinet is full of ineffectual pigmies.
I was the only one with the X Factor to win us the election.
I bought every damn word.
So much for moral paucity.
It physically hurts, Dad.
It actually hurts.
"The villainy you teach me "I will execute and better your instruction.
" 'So, do you buy Aiden Hoynes's claim 'that his resignation was the act of a dissident? 'At best he was being disingenuous and at worst duplicitous.
'When Robin Cook resigned, 'did he impugn Tony Blair's entire premiership? 'No.
He made it very clear his resignation was over 'the single issue of Iraq.
'So this is in the vein of Geoffrey Howe 'and of course that led to Margaret Thatcher's downfall? 'Well, it's no coincidence he used virtually the the same phrase, '"It's for others to decide where their loyalties lie," is it? 'Hoynes did it to force a leadership contest 'and put himself in pole position.
'Instead of which - at the risk of mixing too many metaphors - 'he's put himself out in the wilderness.
' Oh, God.
The day from hell.
You'll get back.
You just have to give it time, let things play out.
They'll close ranks.
That's how it works.
Those that haven't already.
I'm screwed, Freya.
Come on.
I'm just trying to look the damn beast in the eye, see it for what it is.
A setback is what it is, that's all.
We've got through worse, we'll get through this.
Can you take Noah to school tomorrow? Just I've the Select Committee first thing.
Sure.
You'll be able to spend more time with him, won't you? That's one bonus.
God! You and your crap films.
"I could have been a contender, I could have been somebody.
" Sod off! Ah! Ah! Ah! Hey, why put yourself through it? They'll only depress you.
Come, Ruby! We go now.
Here, shopping list.
Noah needs new laces for his school shoes and Aiden's suit needs picking up.
Right.
Ruby, you need your note for the school trip.
Give it to me.
Packed lunch.
Bye, Daddy! Bye, sweet.
'A Downing Street spokesperson said the Prime Minister will not be rushed into the reshuffle 'and that he is considering all the options.
' So what have you got at school today? Just stuff.
What kind of stuff? Conversation, Noah.
I ask questions, you answer, remember? No! No! NO! NO! Jesus! NO! NO! What is it? What is it? What did I do? WRONG WAY! We avoid the traffic this way! WRONG WAY! WRONG WAY! All right, all right! All right, all right! WRONG WAY! WRONG WAY! All right! We'll go the other way.
All right.
Wrong way! I'm turning round.
Look, look, look, look.
I'm turning round.
I'm turning round.
All right, all right, all right.
All right, it's all right.
We're going the other way.
All right? We're going the right way now, OK? Have a good day.
And there's another outside the Co-op.
A whole paving stone missing, just a gaping hole.
Did you call the council? Waste of breath, that was.
Press one for this.
Two for that.
And there's another missing.
Outside the post office.
When it was a post office.
I'll get onto it.
Go on! More, more, more.
More.
More, more! Some more, more like that? OK, get the lumps out.
Don't even think about it! Argh! Right! You are in so much trouble.
Hoynes residence, Dita speaking? Who? I can't believe you just did that! Wait, please.
Marcus Brock.
Er, it's Aiden he'll want.
Tell him to try his mobile.
It's you he asked for.
Freya Gardner? Hello there, Freya.
Bad moment? 'Er, Marcus, what can I do for you?' I'm sorry, say again? There's been a development.
Again, exactly as he said it.
Word for word.
Your resignation means a minor cabinet reshuffle.
Bruce will move from Work and Pensions to take over from you as Business Secretary.
His 30 pieces of silver for services rendered.
And the PM wants to know my response should I be offered Work and Pensions - with the proviso That you publicly support him over the immigration issue.
In other words - publicly humiliate you.
I'm to let him know my decision in the morning.
But it's not just about humiliating you, is it? It's about politically isolating you.
What better way to do that than to show your own wife won't support you? Why else choose me? Because you are far and away the best woman at Minister of State level and everyone knows it.
It's a risky little game.
What if I took the damn job? Oh, except there is no risk, is there? He knows you'll reject, out of loyalty to me.
By making the offer he looks statesmanlike and magnanimous - he's off the hook.
Mummy! Noah pulled my hair and spitted at me! I'll call Marcus in the morning and tell him to shove his offer up his woolsack.
Mummy! Where are you? 'Your office.
' Just run with this, OK? You call Marcus in the morning.
You tell him you've discussed his offer with me.
I won't stand in the way of such a fantastic opportunity for you.
So, you will accept the post and you'll agree to the condition on the immigration issue.
In accepting the job, the PM will assume you've put ambition ahead of your loyalty to me, won't he? So you work with that, you use that to win his trust.
And then when the time is right, choose your venue.
Anywhere with maximum impact - Policy Forum dinner, Question Time, Andrew Marr - and you condemn his immigration stand.
Is that before or after I've cleared my desk? No, he can't fire another cabinet minister.
Especially my own wife, without appearing vindictive.
It would be further proof that he runs the cabinet like his own personal fiefdom, crushing dissent, briefing against anyone opposing him.
You publicly challenge a crucial part of his manifesto.
You challenge both his authority and his credibility.
Coups have been sparked by less.
It's a long shot, at best.
Still a shot.
Well, it'll just open the way for Bruce and the leadership.
It'll open the way for a leadership contest between us.
And he'll have the inside track with all the heavyweights in the cabinet.
And I'll have you on the inside, tracking him.
You play the same ambition card with him.
God knows he'll relate to that! Find out who's in his cabal.
Who's funding him? Who's on the fence? Bruce isn't a fool! He'll know that I'm trotting home to leak it all back to you.
At university, before I came along.
You and he.
There was no he and me.
Exactly.
You were the one who got away.
It's not about ideology with him.
It's about outwitting the other side.
It's about the thrill of the chase.
All you have to do is flatter him.
His ego will do the rest.
So I'm not just your mole, but your whore? Oh, come on.
What other word is there for it? Agent provocateur.
OK, worst case scenario, the PM boots you out.
You've put down a marker, Freya.
As someone of principle, someone worthy of holding high office.
Haven't you earned this chance? Hmm? I know, it's asking a lot.
Of course I do.
Sometimes you have to do bad things to get into power to do good things when you get there.
On the side, please.
Babbish? You'll regret now you didn't wager more than a fiver.
She accepted it? 'With alacrity.
' And the condition? The whole caboodle.
She must have done a heck of a job on Aiden.
As you did on the PM, persuading him to go with her.
I'm sure she will be duly grateful.
Aiden! How's it going? Hey! Still trying to ply your trade around the estate? 'For all the good it's doing me.
' Freya got Work and Pensions.
'Downing Street will confirm it by the end of play.
'I told her to bring you and Drew in as her advisers.
' I want a ring of steel round her, Lian.
Yeah, you got it.
We are back in the game, my son.
Hello? Tell me, have you been allocated another minister yet? 'Back in the pool for my sins.
' Word has it your better half has got Work and Pensions? You make the Westminster grapevine look positively arthritic, Kenny.
I told her to put in a request for you to drive her.
'I need to know she's in safe hands, Kenny.
'Precious cargo and all that.
' It would be a pleasure, sir.
'.
.
from the surprise appointment to Works and Pensions of Freya Gardner, 'wife of Aiden Hoynes who recently resigned in what is believed 'to be a failed leadership bid.
'A Downing Street source said the Prime Minister has long since recognised Ms Gardner's 'outstanding potential and does not regard Aiden Hoynes' recent actions 'as an impediment to realising that potential.
' Kevin Russell is your Permanent Secretary.
He's a bit old-school but he's nobody's fool.
Make sure you have a structured induction, don't let him bounce you into decisions before you're ready.
It's another well-wisher.
Who knew I had so many friends? Get used to it.
It's too funereal.
The trick is to connect personally with all the staff.
Especially those who could be toxic.
Exactly.
There, that's better.
Golden rule, though - don't ignore those lower down the food chain.
They'll be your shock absorbers - the keepers of your secrets.
They're a bit Theresa May, aren't they? There.
Give us a twirl.
I forgot rule number one.
To stay top dog, you may have to unleash the bitch within you, Freya.
Don't be afraid of that.
And rule number two? Reread rule number one.
Wish Mummy luck! Luck, Mummy! Thank you! Thank you.
The Os are easy.
There's Oakland, Ottawa, Osmani.
They all have airports.
Didn't Mum make a rule? How you can only talk about the airport thing at home, nowhere else? You know why she made that rule? It's to free up your brain to think about other things.
Because if you focus on just one thing all the time, your brain gets stuck on it.
That's how it turns into an obsession.
So shall we talk about something else? You choose.
Any subject you want.
Anything you like, it's up to you.
Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby Do you, do you, do you, do you Know what you're doing, doing to me Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby.
Back to work, everyone.
Aiden, Aiden! That's enough.
That's enough.
That's enough.
Whoo! Too old for this damn malarkey.
Freya - she's been invited to a welcome drink at Number 10 tonight.
Well, that's not game over for you, Aiden.
Most political careers end in ignominy, don't they? Sacrificed on the altar of the party or guillotined at the ballot box.
Why should I be the exception? Blair never sacked Gordon Brown, because it was safer having him on the inside of the tent pissing out than on the outside pissing in.
He knew the damage he might wreak rampaging on the back benches.
He knew the support he commanded there.
As you do, Aiden.
Why don't you think of this as a chance to reconnect with why you first went into politics? You left Oxford and you went straight into the hothouse of Westminster, didn't you? You barely lived in the real world, barely experienced the the reality of people's lives.
Of course I bloody experience it! I meet them in my damn surgery Virtual reality! It's not the same.
I saw the same thing when you were first told about Noah's Asperger's.
How you stepped back from him.
That was when you chose to bury yourself in the cesspit of Westminster power politics, wasn't it? Hey.
I best get back home, before my damn legs seize up.
Oof! If I did step back from him, it was because of you.
Cos I knew I'd never touch his life as you have mine.
Never say never.
Thrilled to have you on board.
Always said we'd neglected you for too long.
I'm sure you've been here before but it never fails to take one's breath away, does it? Humbling is the word.
I'll tell him you're here.
What I'd like you to do is keep your promises.
Ooh, thank you very much.
You promised local people would have a say - and nothing! Absolutely nothing! But oh, no - little man, he doesn't get his permission, but they do! It's all about brown envelopes.
That's what's going on down there! 'And now, Today In Parliament.
'Another busy week for the Government.
'Its two major pieces of legislation on immigration and penal reform' Thank you for coming.
I thought we were meeting at your office.
Well, it's more relaxed here, isn't it? And more public.
Our two departments have adjacent interests, Freya.
If we're to work together effectively, we have to find a way of putting aside our personal issues.
It's important everyone sees that.
Salade Nicoise.
Certainly.
Calves' liver.
Rare.
Extra spinach, hold the fries.
And a bottle of the 2009 Chateauneuf-du-Pape blanc.
Very good, sir.
I had no choice but to come out against him, Freya.
The week before he resigned, he stayed over at my London flat.
To discuss strategy, he told me.
Did he also tell you I warned him against it? That I'd taken soundings - the omens weren't good? He'd find himself dangerously exposed? Curious that he never mentioned any of that.
Or that given your concern, you didn't call to give me a heads up.
I wish now I bloody had called you.
It it seemed It seemed disloyal.
And publicly shafting him wasn't? You could have done a Pontius Pilate, Bruce.
You could've refused to comment.
He and I were too close.
If I hadn't come out against him, I'd have been accused of collusion.
What was I supposed to do? Commit political kamikaze along with him? I warned him that night, I told him flat-out it was a mistake to go on with it.
I tried to dissuade him, Freya.
God knows I did.
II couldn't reach him.
It's like he has this sense of entitlement.
You don't suppose it's about Noah, do you? That his disability somehow means the world owes Aiden something? Be very careful, Bruce.
When I put your name forward to the PM, even though It was you who put my name forward? Even though I knew it was a chance in a lifetime for you, I was afraid he would try to block it.
Or worse, use you to get back at me at me somehow.
I should have known he cares too much for you to put you in such an invidious position.
So why did you put my name forward, Bruce? To assuage your guilt? How many times have you stepped aside for him over the years, Freya? When that Shadow Transport job came up, you had a shot at it, too.
But you ruled yourself out for him.
Same later with Environment.
And he let you do it.
Every time.
It wasn't for him.
It was for the family.
Well, it's his family too.
As I said to Aiden that night, a leadership bid isn't just about hubris or timing.
It's about picking your allies.
In the end you're only as good as the support you have.
The fact that he wanted to see you alone is a good sign.
It means he's rattled.
He wasn't sure which way you'd jump.
You need to start a paper trail.
Texts at first, he'll feel safer with those.
Then ramp it up into e-mail.
Use his personal e-mail address - he'll be more unguarded on it.
Get the time frame on his campaign, strategy - whatever you can coax out of him.
We get him on paper, we leak it to the press, that's a slam dunk.
I'm tempted to hide a camera on you, catch him bad-mouthing the PM.
Shove that on YouTube.
That would nail his treacherous arse.
I'm kidding, obviously.
Bye! Bye, Mummy! Good luck! Bye.
I go to the shops.
Is there anything you need? No, thanks.
Hey.
Downing Street press office have been on.
Kirsty Wark's doing a piece tonight on childcare and they want me on it.
Well, she's bound to ask me if I back you on the immigration thing, isn't she? Then we go for it tonight.
'You said to wait!' I said wait for the right moment.
We'll never get a better one.
It's still fresh in people's minds, isn't it? 'It'll prove you're your own person, no-one's puppet.
' I'll e-mail you the bullet points, get you word perfect.
Oh, hang on.
I'll call you back, OK? OK.
Hello there.
Oh, no - that's fine.
I'm on my way.
Best make yourself scarce.
Don't want her thinking it's a pincer movement, do we? Oh, good.
Send her up.
Come! Hang here a sec, can you? 'We will never raise the living standards of low income families 'unless we address the issue of female unemployment.
'Not just regionally but nationwide and that comes down to 'localised affordable child care.
'I'd like to turn to another topic 'if I may.
'Was your husband, Aiden Hoynes, right when he said that 'the Prime Minister's moratorium on immigration 'played "into the xenophobic prejudice of those who seek '"to turn us into Fortress Britain?"' 'As Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills as he was then, 'my husband was uniquely placed 'to appreciate how ideas from those outside our culture can 'reinvigorate our economy.
'It was he who initiated the all-party commission to make an impartial assessment of the impact 'of immigration on the country.
'So you support his stand, then? 'I think it's fair to say that ordinary working people 'or indeed those not in work - have their own reality 'about the pressure that immigration can place on local public services and 'So that means that you don't support his stand? 'What I'm saying is that the Prime Minister's initiative 'on the immigration moratorium is it's a very long overdue response 'to the very real anxiety that 'the majority of people in this country feel about the issue of immigration.
'It's a straightforward question - you either support your 'husband's stand or you don't.
Which is it? 'As I say, immigration is something that he has always felt - 'feels - very strongly about.
'With respect, that is not the question I am asking.
'I need to press you on this, Minister.
'You either support your husband's stand or you do not.
'Which is it?' 'Just because you don't agree with someone 'doesn't mean you don't respect their point of view, does it? 'We'll take that as a no, then.
'Freya Gardner, thank you very much for joining us.
Thank you.
' By rights, a doctor should check it.
Best leave me to my own devices, Dad.
I can't.
Not like this.
It's politics.
Survival of the unfittest.
She did what she had to do.
Get on home, Dad.
I'm good, I'm good, really.
I'll call by tomorrow.
Goodnight, Kenny.
Goodnight, Minister.
What happened? An error of judgement.
You hurt me, Aiden.
Tell me, do you feel better for it? We can all do things we're not proud of, Freya.
I am done with waiting in the wings.
All those years you were riding high, she sat in the back seat for you, didn't she? Why can't you take me to school? He's very withdrawn of late.
Freya's not around as much, is she? Or I'm the poor substitute.
I saw them together, Dad, thick as bloody thieves.
You know my wife, Kenny, how she likes to think the best of people.
How about you give me a heads up.
Just keep me in the loop, what's going on with her.
Anything you hear in the car stays in the car.
There's a hot one doing the rounds.
That Babbish has rented offices in Victoria Street.
Hashtag leadership campaign HQ.
This Twitter thing - it's not Aiden's handiwork, is it? He'd never stoop that low.
No, he'd never put you in harm's way like that.