Whispers

Will Jack be back? And who's Mad Mrs Rochester?

Treasury decks were being cleared for the arrival of Jack "The Lad" Straw as chancellor before the Robominister, John Reid, spat out his Home Office dummy. The son of Big Gordie's campaign manager, Will "The Boy" Straw, was to be packed off to a US university for an extended sabbatical away from the money ministry's spin machine. And the whisper is that "The Lad's" widely speculated diversion back to the Home Office is not the done deal it was presented as, Straw remaining eager to enjoy the use of a pad in Downing Street.

Talk of a rapprochement to rival that of Nixon-Mao: Big Gordie and Frank Field are back on speaking terms. The thaw in the permafrost was triggered by Frankie's devastating intervention in the Tory debate on Gordie's pensions grab, the Vicar of Birkenhead flooring "Boy George" Osborne by accusing the Tory shadow bean-counter of failing to tell the truth. The whisper is that Big Gordie swiftly rang Frankie to commend his wisdom and his knowledge of the subject. No more, I fear, will Frankie refer to Big Gordie as Mad Mrs Rochester. And no more, I despair, will Brownites claim that cadaverous Frankie escaped from a tomb and volunteer to nail the coffin lid back on.

Blinking into an uncertain future as the outgoing premier leaves to spend more time making money is that arch-Blairite, the benefits grim reaper John "Gordon Would Make a Ffffing Awful Premier" Hutton. The moderniser from the Ministry for Hard Work has undergone a new new Labour make-over, keeping his glasses in his pocket to look a little younger. Grizzled backbenchers reckon Big Gordie will still recognise an ally of malfunctioning Reid. Hutton's bags, by the way, are bigger than a Tesco shopping trolley.

Desperate to proclaim his loyalty to Druggie Dave is that chocolate soldier, Liam Fox. Spooked by whispers he is to be sacked, the shadow defence secretary has taken to buttonholing anyone he can catch to declare his unflinching admiration for Cameron. The Tory leader, I hear, is highly amused, but such admirable devotion may fail to save his neck. The towering figure of Corporal Des Browne, sniggered my Cameroon double agent, shot the Tory Fox by eventually overwhelming his opposite number in the Iranian hostages kerfuffle.

Up at an unfeasibly early hour on a Sunday to slump on the GMTV sofa and pontificate about local election results. Your correspondent was subsequently caught in a green-room pincer movement by Labour's Kate "Tally" Hoey (left) and the Tory right-winger Derek "Geordie" Conway. Both, alas, seemed to believe what they read in some so-called newspapers and told me I was to be an Alastair Campbell to Big Gordie. I issued yet another denial and intend, the editor of this organ permitting, to keep you informed on the low life and high politics of Westminster for some time to come.

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 14 May 2007 issue of the New Statesman, What now?