Commons Confidential

The latest whispers from Westminster

Broken-nosed David Davis continues to take no prisoners a year after stomping out of the shadow cabinet to run against himself in a by-election. Irritated by "disobliging" criticism of the kamikaze mission, uttered on TV by his old colleague and Independent scribbler Michael Brown, the Tory Action Man suffered pager rage. The SAS reservist texted Brown: "If ever I need help, remind me not to ask you. Goodbye." Should Brown suddenly vanish, the police will immediately know who might assist them with their inquiries.

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The Queen's garden party attracted the usual crop of lefty republicans. Spied with a dainty teacup and saucer was burly Billy Hayes, head of the posties' union. Teased by TUC comrades, the blushing Scouser protested that he had accepted Her Maj's invitation because 100,000 of his members work for the Royal Mail. I hear Brother Billy, to salve his conscience, smuggled an SWP anti-privatisation leaflet into Buck House and left it under a tree. Gone are the days when The Workers, United, Will Never Be Invited!

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My snout in a mac mutters that Shaun Woodward was the sole cabinet minister observed attending the nuptials of Rupert Murdoch's lieutenant Les Hinton. The Ulster viceroy, nicknamed "Vapour" for his knack of creeping into Brown's room through the slightest of open doors, wafted into the Wallace Collection in London. The only other minister at the shindig, held at the height of the Bugs of the World scandal, was Phil Woolas - who protested that he was a guest of the bride.

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In the Commons office of Alistair "Nobody's" Darling, there is a bundle of blank invitations to an undated Treasury reception. A nosy Labour MP going through the Chancellor's drawers discovered the pile. A hapless backbencher will surely soon be invited to a non-existent party.

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The public-sector fat cat Steve Bundred, the £212,000-a-year champion of supposedly pain-free wage freezes for poorly paid dinner ladies, has come a long way. His Audit Commission CV curiously omits Blundered's spell as Arthur Scargill's researcher. Back in the 1980s, Blundered didn't regard a freeze as pain-free when it involved his own pay. The one-time militant trade unionist led a staff revolt after King Arthur scrapped the NUM staff £50 Christmas bonus. Blundered said he has "no specific recollection" of the episode. Thankfully, others do.

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Betty Boothroyd was aloof, Michael Martin occasionally popped in to the tearoom, but John Bercow is playing the People's Speaker for all it's worth. An informant whispered that he'd seen Bercow on the terrace, carrying a tray groaning with drinks as his glamorous Labour wife tottered along beside him in her high heels. Credit where credit's due: Bercow didn't spill a drop.

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An invitation to a reception in the peers' dining room arrived from Lord Chadlington, the former Peter Selwyn Gummer, brother of the ex-Tory cabinet minister John, in support of a charity helping disadvantaged children and young people. The sensitive name of this organisation? Wooden Spoon.