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Commons Confidential: Dave “Jag” Jones’s ego ride

The Welsh Secretary David Jones was severely embarrassed when he was caught “doing a Prescott”.

Bit of a lefty, David Walliams. The Little Britain actor and author of a string of successful children’s books, including the marvellous Gangsta Granny, thinks that voting Tory is selfish, while voting Labour is a more generous choice that would help to care for everyone. During a public meeting in South Shields organised by David Miliband, the Tyneside town’s Labour MP, Walliams had a couple of digs at David Cameron. He criticised Dave for stopping short of an apology for the Amritsar massacre during his arms sales trip to India. And he called for a premier who represents the whole country instead of just Tories. Before “One Nation” Ed rings for an endorsement, however, he should note that Walliams went on to say that he’d like to be deputy to a Prime Minister David Milibrother.

What goes around comes around for David Jones. The Welsh Secretary was one of two cabinet ministers (the other was the horsey Owen Paterson) who voted against gay marriage; the Clwyd Godbotherer was also recently forced to insist that he wasn’t homophobic after questioning gay adoption. Jones the Bigot was severely embarrassed when he was caught “doing a Prescott”: using his chauffeur-driven Jag to travel the 100 metres between the Wales Office and Downing Street. He was shopped, I’ve discovered, by a gay civil servant in Whitehall incandescent at Jones’s lack of Christian charity and his hypocrisy in preaching austerity for others while helping himself to an easy ride. Give that whistleblower my number.

Ken Clarke’s chuntering about how he never switches on his mobile because people call him on it reminded me of hearing a Tory aide muttering that the party deliberately didn’t tell its minister for opposition how to switch off a BlackBerry when the device was issued to the enemy within. Clarke foiled the cunning plan by leaving the gadget in his briefcase. I recall Clarke once handing his wife a thick briefing file from Con HQ before an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions? in Devon. “I don’t need to bother with this,” said Clarke, and then went wonderfully off-message.

I don’t know who should be mortified: Maria Eagle or Tory Boy. After appearing on Daybreak, Labour’s shadow transport secretary departed from ITV’s studios wearing the coat of the Daily Mail right-whinger Andrew Pierce. It was black, like hers, and fitted perfectly. Pierce complained that her black coat, left hanging on the stand, wasn’t as expensive as the one he’d lost.

George Osborne did, I have confirmed, have a double at Oxford. The picture of an astrologer mistaken for the young Chancellor in the university rag Rumpus was another student; the young man died in tragic circumstances a few years later. I believe we should leave it there.

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 11 March 2013 issue of the New Statesman, The audacity of popes