The new Prime Minister, Collingridge, tells Urquhart that he is far too valuable in his current post to be offered a ministerial position. Urquhart is furious but hides his contempt of the man under his usual urbane smile. Collingridge, he believes, will not last long and perhaps something can be arranged to hasten his departure. Meanwhile, it might be a good idea to surreptitiously undermine the leader and start maneuvering in his own favor. And, as luck would have it, an inexperienced young journalist, Mattie Storin, is innocently hanging on his every word. He pretends to be helping her learn about Westminster politics, instead he uses her to leak damaging stories about his rivals. As the Party gathers for its annual conference, the scandals begin to break.