Show Hide image

Commons Confidential: David, Dave and Fat Dave

Plus: The PCS union's share portfolio.

The hacked-off Andy Coulson’s use of the posh lads’ mag GQto give David Cameron PR advice exposed a social division between the Prime Minister’s friends. Coulson, a former editor of the News of the World and the Tory toff’s one-time bit of rough, refers to his old boss as “David” in the piece. Posh friends who go back to the Eton days, including his Tory rival Boris Johnson, call the PM a more familiar “Dave”. Or – if you’re Charlie Brooks, an Old Etonian contemporary of Cameron’s who married Rebekah Brooks, née Wade, a Chipping Norton set chum of Cameron who, like Coulson, is another ex-editor of the Screws of the World – “Fat Dave”. I’m assured by a little bird in No 10 that these things are significant.

The Cameron family’s recent holiday in Ibiza is unlikely to have endeared Deckchair Dave’s day job to Sam Cam. The couple were regularly snapped by the paps even though, under an agreement with No 10, British newspapers declined to print unofficial pictures after Mr and Mrs PM posed at the start of their Spanish break. The talk of Downing Street is of how much Sam Cam dislikes life in what Cherie Blair once called “the goldfish bowl”. An elderly Tory peer confided to your correspondent that Samantha’s formidable mother, Annabel, the Viscountess Astor, keeps her daughter “in line”, whatever that means.

No fun but a lot of games in the London Borough of Enfield, where the expenses grande dame Joan Ryan, a member of New Labour’s Stalinist Tendency, plots a Lazarus-style return to the Commons. The local Enfield Advertiser has carried letters from voters critical of Ryan’s attempted resurrection after she claimed thousands of pounds from taxpayers for her constituency semi, including £150 to fix a garage door. The Labour Party in the area is in uproar. A snout mutters that Ryan wants to run in Enfield North, the seat she lost in 2010. Ryan is a member of the neighbouring Enfield Southgate branch, where she was observed hectoring the chair at an AGM abandoned during a heated row over membership. All very uncomradely.

The Bradford MP Gerry Sutcliffe, minister for tickets in the Brown era, is finishing his memoirs. The ex-sports minister, who recently helped save his city’s Bradford Bulls Rugby League team from collapse, may take the opportunity to settle a few scores with Premiership football’s fat-cat elite. Chelsea tackled Sutcliffe when he attacked John Terry’s then £150,000-a-week salary, while Man United cried foul over his complaints about high ticket prices. Colleagues lobby Sutcliffe to call his kick-andtell effort Balls to You.

Mark Serwotka’s PCS union is sitting on a £363 paper profit on 25 Atos shares, purchased to harass the French hounder of the disabled. Never before has a stakeholder so wanted the value of a holding to go down, rather than up.       

Kevin Maguire is the 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 10 June 2013 issue of the New Statesman, G0