Commons Confidential: Ed’s unaccompanied miner

PLUS: A curious incident in Strangers’ Bar.

Ed keeps digging. Montage: Valeria Escalona
 
MPs who embrace trade unions as part of the Labour family were put on the naughty step during the TUC conference. I hear Ian Lavery, a former miner and chair of the trade union group of Labour MPs, was refused permission to travel to Bournemouth by the whips’ office.
 
Lavery, by all accounts, was unhappy. Not least because he lost the money he’d spent on a booked hotel room.
 
My snout shouted how Lavery asked if it was a joke, then acquired a thunderous look as black as the bottom of a pit shaft when informed that he must remain in London. When in a hole, stop digging, Ed!
 
A curious incident in Strangers’ Bar at the House of Commons. That Lib Dem bomber Paddy Ashdown ordered a pint of lager. Bewitched by his smartphone, Captain Paddy reached into a trouser pocket and slapped down a pile of coins, inviting the barman to extract the price of the pint.
 
Rude – or acceptable behaviour by a seemingly busy peer of the realm? I invite the court of public opinion to be judge and jury.
 
Kelvin MacKenzie apologises for his Wapping short temper in the Elmbridge Lifestyle Magazine. The interviewer, Rosanna Greenstreet, reveals that in 1989 she toiled as a News International secretary. At the job interview, she was asked: “What would you do if MacKenzie called you a c***?”
 
It’s easy to see how an unrestrained and ranting reactionary printed lies about dead Liverpool fans. It isn’t the terrible Hillsborough calumny, however, that leaves MacKenzie most rueful. “My greatest regret,” he reveals, “is that I didn’t stop editing sooner. I worked 18 hours a day, seven days a week . . .” He’s still all me-me-me.
 
New pink ribbons were cut and tied to hang swords in a reorganisation of the members’ cloakroom, coat pegs now arranged by constituency rather than surname. The idea was to avoid the need to move everyone along if a Zeus was replaced by an Aardvark in a by-election. Missing from the fresh ribbons are the plastic and wooden swords slipped in by irreverent MPs. Parliament likes to stand on its dignity.
 
The thespian Ian Grieve plays the brooding eponymous leader in The Confessions of Gordon Brown, which will have a short run in Brighton during Labour conference.
 
One unexpected problem is audience members shouting out names when Grieve-Broon poses a rhetorical question about who was defence secretary during the Iraq war. The answer is Geoff Hoon, but this isn’t panto, so shush if you go.
 
Piers Morgan grumbles how he was twice mistaken for David Cameron. Something about the cheekbones. Has Cameron ever been mistaken for the CNN host? Crushing for both if he hasn’t.
 
Kevin Maguire is the associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror