Commons Confidential

The latest whispers from Westminster

To David Cameron's summer soirée for the meeja, where the Tory leader greeted your correspondent with a cheery "Hi, I'm Druggie Dave". I was delighted to learn that the Bullingdon Boy is a regular reader (to call him a fan might be an exaggeration) of this column. Until I'd enjoyed a glass of my host's very quaffable rosé, I'd considered awarding him a fresh moniker. But if a wannabe prime minister, punished with Latin lines at Eton College a quarter of a century ago for puffing wacky backy, is happy to introduce himself as Druggie Dave on a social occasion, then Druggie Dave he must remain.

Gordon Brown is swapping offices again in No 10. The Supreme Leader is taking over the whole war room, while his new mouthpiece, Simon Lewis, and the spinners are moving into a smaller side room previously reserved for Big Gordie's private time. The line is that Brown needs a grand office to greet guests, so he gets a big window, his team a dimly lit cell. Omov - one man, one view.

Druggie Dave's Old Etonian chum Zac Goldsmith is learning that canvassing without a wife can be a handicap for a Tory. Sheherazade, mother of his three heirs, hasn't been seen in leafy Richmond Park since tabloid tales of her hubby's political discussions with Alice Rothschild, sister-in-law of Goldsmith's brother. The head of a private girls' school was unaware of the family's affairs when she gave Goldsmith a bouquet for his wife. The more worldly parents-cum-voters, I hear, suddenly discovered an interest in their shoes.

The In-Justice Secretary, Jack "the Lad" Straw, is fond of boasting that his three greatest achievements as home secretary were the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, Pinochet's arrest and the Human Rights Act. The Lad's reign sounds less fit for purpose when we recall that Lawrence's killers are still free, Pinochet got away and even the Lad thinks people view the HRA as a villain's charter.

The serial resigner Stephen Pound's back on the lowest rung of the ministerial ladder, carrying the bags of the bus driver's son Sadiq Khan, who now travels as transport minister. Pound has three times found principles over which to quit as a PPS. Weary colleagues wonder if his fourth resignation letter's already typed.

To Lord's, where an old buffer spluttered into his Pimm's when he discovered the Unite hitman Charlie Whelan is a fellow Marylebone Cricket Club member. "Oh no, not that ghastly man who worked for Gordon Brown," the chap shouted at my snout. "If I'd known he was joining, I'd have blackballed him." Too late, comrade - nowhere's too good for the workers!

Back to Pound, who is left with a bat but no ball after Ealing Tories pulled out of an annual cricket match against a Labour XI that he captains. Labour thrashed 'em last summer, but the Tories withdrew claiming the pinkoes showed "gross disrespect" to the west London borough's mayor. The Aussie skipper, Ricky Ponting, should consider doing the same before the third Test at Edgbaston.

Kevin Maguire is associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror. He returns in September

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 27 July 2009 issue of the New Statesman, On tour with the far right