Boy George v cockney rebel
The Bank of England bean-counter-turned-Labour Treasury team mistress Rachel Reeves has caught the ear of "Sir" George Osborne. The baronet's son informed a Labour frontbencher, I hear, that Reeves needs to change her sarf Londoner accent if she wants to be taken seriously. I'd advise Boy George to lean back the next time they face each other across the despatch box. But in the unlikely event that Reeves wants elocution lessons, I know a chap who could point her in the right direction. The Squeaker of the Exchequer consulted a £100-an-hour Harley Street speech therapist to stop sounding like the high-pitched Sir Piers Fletcher-Dervish, Alan B'Stard's dim-witted upper-class chum in TV's The New Statesman.
Labour MPs think the Tory thruster Chris Kelly should eat his words. The ambitious right-whinger, who as a student bet £50 at 10,000-1 with William Hill that he'd become prime minister, was fast to boast he saves taxpayers' money by never lunching in Commons canteens. "Every day I have been an MP, I have made my own sandwiches for lunch and brought them in," rumbled Kelly, ingratiating himself with the Guido Fawkes website. Opponents now charge Kelly, who used to receive £4,000-a-month pocket money from Daddy's hauliers on top of his MP's salary, with being economical with the ingestion. The Dudley South penny-counter didn't add he claimed £799.80 expenses for evening snacks and meals. My snout calculated that's the equivalent of 267 jars of piccalilli.
The Sun defector Kelvin MacKenzie asserted, from his new Daily Mail berth, that last summer David Cameron sent an emissary to tell Rebekah Brooks that the PM was sorry he couldn't be as loyal to her as she had been to him because Ed Miliband was making the running on phone-hacking. When the apology story first did the rounds a few weeks ago, a snout whispered, the role of Hermes was performed by email. Intriguing. Emails are electronically recoverable.
Left behind when the Treasury select committee flew to China on a jamboree was Labour's Teresa Pearce, a former PricewaterhouseCoopers tax expert who represents Erith and Thamesmead. In her 2010 mini-manifesto, Pearce promised she wouldn't join taxpayer-funded jaunts. MPs who are investigating the financial sector could've saved themselves thousands of miles. The last time I checked, the City of London, centre of global capitalism, was a £4.30 Tube ride from the Palace of Westminster.
Trade union general secretaries, I'm told, have declined the olive branch of meetings with Miliband after the dust-up over public service pay. Relations remain seasonally cool.
Crikey! The mop-haired Boris Johnson isn't the sole candidate for London mayor sprinkled with a little stardust. Livingstone, plotting to be Comeback Ken, was campaigning with the comic Eddie Izzard when a woman asked for a photograph - and then handed the camera to the comic to snap her with Labour's pensioner politician.
Kevin Maguire is associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror