How head boy Teddy left “Newkie” browned off

No minister has dropped as far down the cabinet league table as the Education Secretary, Michael Gove. He recently invited Andy Burnham on a joint visit to the Labour shadow's alma mater, St Aelred's, which is merging with Newton High, another school in St Helens, to create the £33m Hope Academy. But Gove hadn't done his homework: Hope isn't a Tory academy, but one created and funded by Labour.

Burnham has heard nothing since Gove discovered his mistake. The heads of another half-dozen St Helens schools would like a word with Gove about the rebuilding money that went missing when the Building Schools for the Future programme was cut. From opposition bright boy to dunce in power.

Every politician loves to kiss a baby, as the glistening cheeks of Tobias, gurgling four-month-old son of the Cardiff Lib Dem Jenny Willott, can testify. The MP magnet was observed tolerating a cooing Graham Brady, Tory dead ringer for Prince Andrew, and the Mr Punch-like Labour figure of Stephen Pound. Until, that is, the BBC politico Nick Robinson stuck his bespectacled head into the pram. She should stop watching Sgt Bilko or The Ten O'Clock News with Toby on her knee to avoid rattling the child.

Labour bad boys aren't letting the Tory Mark "Legless" Reckless forget he was too drunk to vote on the Budget in July. As Legless was called to ask a question of George Osborne, the waspish whip Mark Tami shouted: "Get back to the bar!" The heckle went diplomatically unheard by both the Speaker and Hansard.

Word reaches me of what Teddy Miliband told Nick "Newkie" Brown when he dispensed with his services as chief whip. The garrotting is cited as proof of decisiveness by a Labour leader with a reputation for dithering. When Newkie Broon protested that Miliboy hadn't objected during the leadership race, Teddy is said to have replied: "Then I was the candidate - now I'm the leader." Now he's the leader, talk grows of restless Milibrother David as a future candidate.

Colette Conway, wife of disgraced Derek Conway, has survived the expenses scandal. He vacated Ted Heath's former Old Bexley and Sidcup sinecure after running a family firm, employing Mrs C as his secretary and enrolling his student sons Freddie and Henry on the public payroll. Hubby's out of parliament but she's still in, working for the Bracknell Tory Phillip Lee. Mrs C could prove she worked for her Conway cash. But what a cosy place Westminster is.

Those loved-up soulmates Dave and Nick compare their relationship to a marriage. The Tory macho man David Davis even mocked the dreamy-eyed pair as the Brokeback coalition. Yet Cameron, 44, and Clegg, 43, may not be as solid as they appear. Labourites are taking comfort from research by the Office for National Statistics - divorce rates are highest between adults aged 40-44.

Is there a British politician with a name more appropriate than the Tory leader of Nottinghamshire County Council slashing 3,000 jobs? Step forward, Kay Cutts.

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 06 December 2010 issue of the New Statesman, Vietnam: the last battle