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Commons Confidential: Is the EU fobbing off Nigel?

Plus a guest appearance from the bicycling baronet.

The deputy speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, is a mild-mannered chap until riled. The Chorley cannon came out all guns blazing after the BBC oop north broadcast an investigation claiming that Rugby League was bust. Hoyle, whose father, Lord (Doug) Hoyle, is chairman of the Warrington Wolves club, was incandescent. “They’d never dare show a programme saying that about the chaps of Rugby Union,” Hoyle, Jr announced in the Strangers’ cafeteria, his Lancashire ire interrupting many a lunch.

The 13-man league game in northern England brings out the chippiness in fans, who resent the money and attention lavished on a 15-man union code played in the country’s private schools. As we approach the 110th anniversary of George Orwell’s birth, perhaps Hoyle should seek comfort in the Old Etonian’s apocryphal remark that a bomb placed under the west stand of Rugby Union’s Twickenham HQ would have set back British fascism by 50 years.

Are Eurocrats taking revenge on Nigel Farage for his Little Englanderism? My Brussels snout whispered that the Ukip leader’s pass was demagnetised during a recent EU summit. Poor Nigel had to be escorted by a security guard to an early-morning interview with ITV’s Daybreak in the Justus Lipsius building. Britain’s chief Europhobe moaned that this had never happened to him at 23 previous summits. An unfortunate, random glitch, Nigel, I’m sure.

The bicycling baronet Sir George Young’s stripping of the Tory whip from Nadine Dorries is backfiring on the Cameroon high command. Local party bigwigs in Mid Bedfordshire unanimously passed a vote of confidence in their MP and she’s never been so popular on the rubber-chicken circuit. The Peterborough MP, Stewart Jackson, is flogging tickets for an I’m a Celebrity-themed fundraiser in his constituency next month, at which an unrepentant Dorries will talk about crushing creepy crawlies. She’ll also discuss her week in the jungle.

Aidan Burley’s discomfort continues on the Commons workless and pensionless committee. The Nazi stag party MP was well and truly Glenda’ed when Ms Jackson channelled Elizabeth I to deliver a slap-down worthy of another Oscar to Hurly-Burley over single parents. The imperious member for Hampstead and Kilburn did so on a rare point of order and was heard sighing, “I enjoyed doing that,” as her target sat in stunned silence. Burley, I’m told, looked like a glum, scolded boy.

Your correspondent suggested to the lefty Jeremy Corbyn that he resembled a priest taking confessions as he squatted in a passport photo booth, the curtain half-pulled across the entrance. “I’ll hear yours now,” he said, “but tell that chap Blair to come tomorrow when I’ve a whole day free.”

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 18 February 2013 issue of the New Statesman, Iraq: ten years on