No 10’s 60-minute make-under

The Buller boy played musical chairs to make his new digs appear less posh on Sunday-morning television. Downing Street's grand White Room was chosen for David Cameron's light grilling by the BBC's Andy Marr, but an eagle-eyed veteran of the evicted Labour regime noticed the furniture had been switched. Instead of sitting on one of the room's plush seats, the Old Etonian perched on a plain-looking number usually found in the Thatcher Study. Operation De-Toff had been launched by the government of gentlemen.

No respecter of Downing Street service is the Hammer of Hackney, Diane Abbott. The lefty marched into Newsnight's green room to find every chair occupied. Abbott pointed at the ex-No 10 staffer Peter Hyman and, according to a snout, uttered the words "oi", "you" and "up", in that order. Hyman left Blair's pay to retrain as a teacher and is now deputy head of an Ealing comp, and so is able to spot an awkward pupil. He sensibly realised he was beaten and got up to surrender his seat.

Plans are afoot, I hear, for Cameron to invite Maggie Thatcher for tea to reassure true blues that his yellow streak isn't too wide. This is one official function he doesn't intend to share with his new chum Nick Clegg; diarists are seeking a date when Clegg won't be cluttering the place up. Meanwhile the Tory right wants the Rusty Lady's portrait hung in a more prominent spot. She is currently opposite a No 10 lavatory.

The first victims of cuts by the miserable minister, Vince Cable, are Twickenham Lib Dems. Sitting in the rear of Peter Mandelson's Jag required Cable, none too happy at the prospect of working with "Boy George" Osborne, to abandon a weekly column in the Mail on Sunday. The £4,666.67 after-tax fee was donated to his local party. My source whispered that Cable may be heading a business empire he vowed to axe, but he'll bank the £136,000 salary.

Cameron sidled up to Labour's Stephen Pound in Portcullis House and, from the side of his mouth, asked if he fancied defecting. The new PM may be less sure of his coalition allies than he lets on. The moment will be remembered, however, as the first time garrulous Pound was rendered speechless.

The arrival of so many new Tories is discomfiting David Davis, who was overheard lamenting how he'd mistaken five Conservative reinforcements
for lobby hacks. One group can justifiably feel insulted - and it isn't the politicians.

David Milibrother's official mouthpiece is one Lisa Tremble, who, when a special adviser, was renowned for bad-mouthing Gordon Brown. She spun for Charles Clarke and James Purnell, and must hope that her back catalogue isn't published now that the senior Milibrother wants everything on the record. Sniffy Labour loyalists mutter that Tremble will either be third time lucky or three times a loser.

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 24 May 2010 issue of the New Statesman, Greece now, Britain next