Paul Routledge hears Mr Madonna wants a safe seat

Mr Madonna wants safe seat, Caborn's disgrace, and a revolting MP in tears

And Labour thinks that it has trouble with reselection! Sir Peter Tapsell, the booming-voiced Tory MP for Louth and Horncastle, is very cross about impertinent suggestions that he should give up, now he is 73. He wants to stand again, notwithstanding some young whippersnappers in his constituency who take the opposite view. Tapsell may become a test case for the independence of Conservative associations.

Meanwhile, in Kensington and Chelsea, where Michael Portillo sashayed out of politics, Philip Oppenheim, the former minister who now runs an ersatz Cuban restaurant, and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, one of nature's losers, are among those who fancy the safe seat. But amazingly, I hear that Guy Ritchie, husband of Madonna, also fancies it. Ms Madonna, said to be a female vocalist, is "resident" here, but more to the point, Ritchie's mum is a former chairman of the constituency association. Ken & Chel loves a high-profile MP. That's why it rehabilitated Alan Clark, before launching Portillo on his media career.

Offcuts from That Visit. No 10 has appointed an official photographer, another idea purloined from the Americans. The in-house snapper was given the exclusive rights to shoot Cherie Blair and Laura Bush flush in Downing Street as they were entertained by schoolchildren reciting Shakespeare.

When the armoured caravan moved on to Sedgefield for fish'n'chips at the Dun Cow, it was reported that management had put in a new kitchen. Not so. In fact, the US invasion halted work on new catering equipment, so the presidential party had to gulp down food that one restaurant critic likened to what you'd get in a greasy-spoon cafe. And the No 10 media operation was shambolic. Had it not been for a robust British Transport policeman talking their bus through the barriers, Westminster's finest would never have got anywhere near the crime scene. Their exclusion was summed up by the Press Association's political editor, Jon Smith, who asked: "Which country are we in?" America-on-tour, of course.

Tessa Jowell returned in triumph from Sydney, where, aides tell her, England won the Rugby World Cup. The real reason for the disgracing of the sports minister, Dick Caborn, dragged back from Oz to vote, was that he complained to Downing Street that we were "sending a woman to do a man's job".

The whipping and arm-twisting ahead of the revolt on foundation hospitals, the biggest since Labour took power, was truly scary. One backbencher, Jon Trickett (Hemsworth), an ex-PPS to Peter Mandelson, complained to friends of physical assault. At least one female MP was reduced to tears, and Tommy McAvoy, a senior enforcer, was overheard telling David Hinchliffe, the rebellious chairman of the health select committee: "It's a good job you're standing down at the next election!" After such behaviour, Hinchliffe is convinced Westminster is not for him.

Paul Routledge is chief political commentator for the Daily Mirror