Commons Confidential

Dave’s easy riders.

Citizen Dave's motorcycle outriders are, I hear, reinstated. On entering No 10, the People's Toff promised he would be an ordinary premier, graciously prepared to sit in jams with his public. But a Cabinet Office informant muttered that Cameron's two-wheeled, leather-clad cops are once more revved up and ready to roll. I gather that "Call Me" Dave exits the gates of No 10 under the same rules as Gordon Brown: heavy traffic means an escort, empty roads equals none.

Con-Dem hero to condemned zero in under three weeks: David Laws's fall has been as spectacular as his rise. Austerity Britain's disgraced poster boy had won a following on the right as the Cons' favourite Dem before his expenses caught up with him. A weepy Tory minister suggested that his party wear black armbands: the £6bn-cut-happy bankster had usurped Boy George Osborne as Cameron's man at the Treasury.

Coalition confusion also reigns at the MoD. The hardliners Liam "13th-Century" Fox and Gerald Howarth, an RAF reservist, are not trusted by
No 10, so the Lib Dem minister Nick Harvey is considered to be Cameron's spy, protecting him against an armed putsch.

Laws's eagerness to axe jobs, bin payments and slash services smacks of hypocrisy - and not just because of his expenses. Ian Lucas, an industry minister during the Labour regime, recalled that, a few weeks before the election, Laws had requested a £60m state bung for AgustaWestland, the helicopter manufacturer based in his Yeovil constituency. Now, with so much unexpected free time on his hands, the former chief secretary will be able to resume lobbying for huge grants from programmes he would have cut in the cabinet.

Is political ambition stirring in the diarist Alastair Campbell? During the closing hours of the Brown era, the big man with the bigger ego was overheard boasting in the No 10 bunker that he would make a great PM. When the assembled throng laughed, a wounded Comical Ali protested that he wasn't joking, but in a rare moment of self-awareness admitted he would need help with policy, his weakest suit. I'll admire Comical's straight face even more than before when next he accuses the meeja of neglecting, erm, policy.

The contest for the three Commons deputy speaker posts is turning into a bunfight. I know of seven hats in the ring. The Cons Nigel Evans, Roger Gale and Geoffrey Clifton-Brown fancy their chances; the Labourites Dawn Primarolo, Lindsay Hoyle, Tom Clarke and George Howarth are canvassing, too. One of the deputies must be a woman - so "Red Dawn" could come seventh and still win. A pity for Diane Abbott that the same rule doesn't apply to the Labour leadership race.

Labour members are to be charged a tenner to attend leadership hustings. In the People's Party, it seems, democracy comes at a price.

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 07 June 2010 issue of the New Statesman, The myth of Mandela