Happy jubilee, Keith!

Commons confidential

First Radio 4’s The World This Weekend, then BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show, next the London leg of Keith Vaz’s jubilee. Following Tony Blair’s re-entry into politics, the ex-premier will deliver a rare unpaid speech. Vaz-eline, whose first name is recorded in Debrett’s as Nigel, has booked Blair as the main turn at a grand do to mark his 25 years in parliament. Never one to hide his light under a bushel, the Leicester East MP has printed photographs on the invitations showing himself with premiers over the past quarter-century. There’s Keith with Major, Keith with Blair, Keith with Brown and Keith with Cameron. There’s no Keith with Thatch, despite the pair overlapping three years, but there is Keith with Ed Miliband. So Vaz may, or may not, be pictured with the country’s next prime minister.

Handbags in the Parliamentary Labour Party after Frank Field submitted a tribute to a tome deifying Enoch “Rivers of Blood” Powell on the centenary of the monster’s birth. The Black Country MP Ian Austin was so incensed that he fired off a condemnation to Funereal Frank, copying in Labour’s chief whip, Rosie Winterton. “I have attached the original unedited version of a piece I wrote for the Telegraph yesterday responding to this week’s campaign to rehabilitate Powell,” he told the Tories’ favourite Labourite. “My only regret is that I did not know you had contributed . . . so that I could have denounced your piece as well.” Liberty and equality but no fraternity.

Is the actor David Walliams a closet lefty? David Miliband has signed up the Little Britain star – whose roles include Sir Norman Fry, an outwardly respectable Tory who poses with his family, David Mellor-style, to explain away compromising situations – to give a lecture in South Shields in 2013. The talks are an annual event initiated by the elder Milibrother, the local MP. Previous guests include the Labour supporters Jo Brand and Patrick Stewart. Perhaps Mili D could persuade Walliams and Matt Lucas to fight David Cameron’s war on welfare as Lou and Andy. Or maybe not, as the wheelchair-bound “Yeah I Know” Andy feigns a handicap and jumps up whenever his carer, Lou, looks the other way. The TV sketch isn’t so funny now the ConDems are slashing support for the disabled.

I bring you Photogate. Poolside snaps of hacks relaxing in shorts during Cameron’s G20 holiday in Los Cabos, Mexico, ended in a cover-up by Call Me Dave’s spinner Craig Oliver. The PR took the incriminating photos on his cameraphone in a fit of pique when a travelling press pack reported that his boss was on a jolly, after threatening more negative stories and Freedom of Information requests – but then deleted them. A blank memory card of surrender would be of little use to the Leveson inquiry.

Pantomime dame may be as close as Ann Widdecombe gets to a title as long as Cameron refuses to stick the Tory Mrs Tiggy-Winkle in the Lords. A male admirer whispered that she’s taken to wearing fetching polka-dot tights and describes Widders as a prototype Louise Mensch. Don’t shoot the messenger, Ms Menshn.com!

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.

This article first appeared in the 02 July 2012 issue of the New Statesman, Clegg the martyr