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Commons Confidential: Sutcliffe & Khan, a killer combo

It must have seemed a good idea at the time for the Liberals to use a Jimmy Savile endorsement in their TV party political broadcast before the February 1974 election. In retrospect, the way it features the BBC rapist and paedophile immediately before Cyril Smith’s jowls looks doubly dubious, and Simon Danczuk, Rochdale’s Labour MP, has demanded a police investigation into evidence that Smith allegedly abused children, too.

Your correspondent once interviewed Big Cyril at his terraced home on Emma Street, Rochdale, about his cosy links to an asbestos industry killing constituents. He had a huge collection of toby jugs but what I remember most is Smith pointing to a bed in the downstairs front room and saying his mother had died on it and he now slept on it. Beneath the public bonhomie, the original chatshow politician was a dark figure.

David Davis is a Tory softie behind that broken nose. Getting off a train in Worcester, Action Man was spotted going to the aid of an elderly lady wondering how to carry a heavy case up the steps. Davis lugged the bag for her and earned admiring glances. A snout sniggered that David Cameron would’ve ordered an aide to assist while heading to the buffet for a large, VAT-free pasty to pose as a toff of the people.

To a UK Music reception at Portcullis House which proved that, whatever else politics is, it ain’t rock’n’roll. The Kent Tory Tracey Crouch wanted her picture taken with Tony Blackburn, so yours truly acted as official photographer. The Eurovision Song Contest winner Sandie Shaw disclosed that she is prepared to give evidence at a culture committee hearing into the money-spinning industry. “Puppet on a String” could be the signature tune for practically any Liberal Democrat cabinet minister.

The ex-sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe is the toast of Rugby League after he brokered a £1.2m sponsorship deal with “the Provy”, Provident Financial, to save the local top-flight club the Bradford Bulls. The club’s new owner, Omar Khan, a businessman who runs some of the finest curry restaurants in the West Yorkshire city, appointed Sutcliffe the Bulls’ honorary president. The pair were brought down to earth at a session with fans. A supporter stood up to express relief that they were Gerry and Omar, because he’d misheard and thought they were Peter Sutcliffe and Genghis Khan.

Tight with his money, is the Injustice Secretary, Chris Grayling. Informed that the original of a Martin Rowson cartoon would cost £400, the Jackal’s office asked for two for the price of one when the minister was told he’d been lampooned twice. Rowson, no shrinking violet, replied that was halving his wages and he wouldn’t be treated as if he was a workfare skivvy. Grayling isn’t laughing since he failed to negotiate the toons.

Michael Ashcroft’s chauffeur driven motor is a luxurious London black cab. Prince Philip drives one of his own. Nothing’s too good for Tory royalty like Cashcroft.

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 26 November 2012 issue of the New Statesman, What is Israel thinking?