Commons Confidential

David's Miliblunders.

The image David Cameron is spinning of himself, as a youngster who hadn't much interest in politics, is disputed by a former ladyfriend. The one-time PR exec likes us to imagine he was an ordinary student, listening to the Smiths and playing tennis.

But Eton and the Buller aren't all he glosses over. Cameron was too lazy to be an activist, but the ex-girlfriend, who knew him intimately when he was learning to shave, revealed that her old beau dreamed then of being Prime Minister. Which explains how a guy unconcerned by politics came to work for Conservative Central Office straight after university.

Discretion dictates that I keep private what Cameron got up to under the duvet. For now.

Three months after Sky announced the death of the freed Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi is still (at the time of writing) breathing in and out. Sky swiftly corrected its spectacular error, but your correspondent has learned why its political editor, Adam Boulton, felt confident playing the Grim Reaper: Sky thought it had an impeccable source. Step forward, Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

Jon Craig, Boulton's colleague at Sky, fascinates the youngest members of the Brown household. The boys, I hear, refer to the figure standing outside No 10 in inch-thick make-up as "The Silly Man". A TV rival wondered aloud what excitable Craig would be called if the junior Browns were old enough to understand what he says.

The yellow blight's Nick Clegg is busy wooing the right-wing newspapers. Snouts whisper that he was favourably received at lunches with the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, where the editors are unconvinced by Dave. For the Guardian and the Independent he's a Liberal, but at the Mail and Torygraph, Clegg posed as a Democut who'd slash spending.

To GMTV, where the lift doors opened to disgorge a confused Attorney General. Baroness Scotland had got lost in the bowels of the building. I pointed out she'd turned left instead of right. An unusual move for a New Labour minister who hired an illegal immigrant for £6 an hour.

The Labour whips' office was surprised when there was no reply to the text message: "Has anyone lost a mobile phone? If so, please call Dave Watts."

Kevin Maguire is associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

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Meet the MPs who still think they have a chance of defeating Brexit

A crossparty group of MPs believe they have a right to vote Brexit down in the House of Commons. 

The decision on 23 June was final. With the ballots cast, the nation’s voters started the conveyor belt that would take the United Kingdom in only one direction - Brexit. It was independence day, or Brexitpocalypse, depending on your point of view.

But some MPs think differently. A growing handful of of crossparty MPs who backed Remain are now saying they will vote against Brexit if offered the chance. 

With Article 50 yet to be triggered, they still have an opportunity to influence what happens next. But the decision also raises questions about democracy. What is an MP’s role at this point of national crisis? To respect the will of the majority? Or to fight for their individual constituents?

David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham (pictured), has led the charge for a second vote on Brexit.

He points out the referendum was “advisory, non-binding”, and argues it should be up to Parliament to make the final decision

In a series of tweets, he said:  “Our Parliament is sovereign and must approve any Brexit.

“My position is clear. I will never vote for Brexit or to invoke Article 50. On behalf of my constituents and the young people of this country I will not do it. Three quarters of my constituents voted to Remain, and I will continue to stand up for them.”

Lammy isn’t the only one to invoke the will of his constituents. Another Labour MP, Catherine West, represents Hornsey and Wood Green. In Haringey, the overlapping local authority, three quarters of voters chose to Remain. 

West tweeted: “I stand with them on this issue and I will vote against Brexit in Parliament.”

Daniel Zeichner, the Labour MP for the Europhile island of Cambridge, has also pledged to vote Remain. Geraint Davies, a Welsh Labour MP and Jonathan Edwards, from Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru, have submitted a formal notice to Parliament demanding a second referendum "on the terms of leaving the EU". 

Perhaps it is not surprising English and Welsh MPs are taking such a stubborn view. Short of following Scotland’s example and demanding London’s independence, they have few other options.

But the MPs’ resistance also brings up a thorny political question. A majoritarian vote is only one part of democracy after all. Constituency MPs and minority protections are also part of the mix. 

There may also be an argument that responsible MPs should act in voters’ best interests - even if that is against the wishes of the voters themselves. 

Speaking in the House of Commons, Tory grandee Ken Clarke noted MPs were yet to actually hear the details of what Brexit Britain would look like. 

He asked the Prime Minister:

“Does my right hon. Friend agree that we still have a parliamentary democracy and it would be the duty of each Member of Parliament to judge each measure in the light of what each man and woman regards as the national interest, and not to take broad guidance from a plebiscite which has produced a small majority on a broad question after a bad-tempered and ill-informed debate?”

It is not a straightforward democratic case. But with two parties divided, a 300-year-old union in jeopardy and the peace process in Northern Ireland under pressure, MPs might be tempted to put the patriot’s argument first.