Commons confidential

Druggie Dave tries Blair’s denim ball-muggers

I half expect David Cameron to promise that a Tory government would be “whiter than white” as he reverts to the Tony Blair opposition script and pledges to clean up politics.

We all remember what happened after that. I hear Druggie Dave also tries to dress like his role model these days. Our Tory toff was seen squeezed into jeans as tight as the ball-mugging pair that threatened to castrate the then premier as he stood stiffly beside George Bush at Camp David. A snout mumbled how Dave looked distinctly uncomfortable in circulation-restricting denims at a Sunday party in the country where he clinked glasses with motormouth Jeremy Clarkson and the Sun editrix, Rebekah Wade. So injurious were the jeans that he vanished mid-afternoon and reappeared in less stressful slacks. Say what you like about Blair, but he never needed to change his trousers when the going got tough.

Esther “Me-Me-Me” Rantzen’s quest to turn Westminster into I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me in There! has TV crews chuckling. The preening, self-styled saviour of democracy demands they film her with the lens tilted down on her head, to avoid pics of a sagging chin. Such vanity would leave Rantzen feeling at home on the green benches, as long as she can find Luton on the map.

Ministers caught flipping homes are blaming Peter Hain for their humiliation. It was the one-time leader of the House who persuaded the cabinet in 2004 that a minister’s main home could be in the constituency instead of London. Little did Hain know he was giving the kids the keys to the sweet shop.

The Torygraph has scrapped receptions at this autumn’s Labour and Conservative shindigs. The editor, Will Lewis, not unwisely suspects that the expenses fiddlers would at best stay away, and at worst waste the free champagne by pouring it over his suit. The rag took immediate revenge on the spendthrift Tory Peter Luff after this column reported he’d cancelled lunch with a hack.

The Torygraph revealed, among other things, claims for a ladder, two ironing boards, three toilet seats, four mattresses and five sets of towels, providing food for thought for complaining MPs.

Explaining how he claimed £11,000 interest from the Fees Office over 23 months on a house without a mortgage, the Tory whip “Bungalow Bill” Wiggin made a poor advert for an Eton education. He was a year above his schoolmate-turned-leader Druggie Dave. An informant mischievously claims Bungalow bullied Druggie, who now enjoys tormenting the older boy, waving scissors at his career without actually cutting the string.

That a tax-free windfall on an ill-judged house dodge jeopardises the cabinet highchair of Little Labour’s Hazel Blears is a cause of grave disappointment for one of Mrs Pepperpot’s comrades. “I always thought,” mused Frank Dobson, “that rising sea levels from global warming would get her first.”

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 01 June 2009 issue of the New Statesman, Big Brother