Cleggover, you’re nicked
An informant dismissed Nick Clegg’s supposed prowess between the sheets.
Citizen Dave's "big society" evidently doesn't encompass Tom Baldwin: Cameron ordered Steve Hilton to disinvite Ed Miliband's spinmeister from a New Year's Eve party at the west Oxfordshire mansion of the Prime Minister's tree-hugging marketing guru. Hilton, who voted Green in 2001, when Cameron was first elected a Tory MP, goes back a long way with Baldwin. And I hear that the PM, whom this column used to tease as Druggie Dave, is worried about those in the cabinet and No 10 who used to hang out with Little Ted's recruit. Tory newspapers made much of Michael Ashcroft's accusation in his score-settling book, Dirty Politics, Dirty Times, of what Baldwin supposedly sniffed in a hotel suite in Blackpool during the 2001 Conservative conference. Two other named hacks were placed in the room. Yet Ashcroft, until recently a Tory deputy chair, curiously failed to identify the fourth person present. Could it be that the mystery man is a very prominent Tory? Baldwin's hard-partying days are behind him and he shows no inclination to spill the political beans. Shame.
On New Year's Eve I bumped into, as you do, an old acquaintance of Nick Clegg. She's still giggling at the Lothario Democrat's March 2008 declaration that he'd slept with "no more than 30" women. She never knew Cleggover in the biblical sense, but worked closely with Cameron's human shield in Brussels. The informant dismissed his supposed prowess between the bedsheets as another broken promise and insisted the truth is far more modest.
As one who has compared him to Jabba the Hutt and a Sontaran in Doctor Who, I enjoy the NS's Eric-alikes. I recall the right-wing blogger Harry Cole, who retired as Tory Bear to re-emerge as one of Guido Fawkes's co-conspirators, labelling Pickles a giant thumb. So, over the holiday, I drew a pair of eyes and mouth on my left. Spooky. Try it (or take a look here ).
The expenses war between MPs and Ipsa is turning dirty. At a stormy meeting of the Tory 1922 Committee before the recess, an aggrieved backbencher claimed a senior employee of the body is leaking damaging information to the Mail on Sunday. Heavy stuff. And no doubt such a heinous charge would be denied strongly. But should anyone at Ipsa be releasing details of claims, could they give me a call, too?
Thanks to the real-ale-drinking Suffolk Tory Therese Coffey for pointing out, on Twitter, how wrong I was to quip that Labour's whistler Yasmin Qureshi's piercing thweeeeet qualified her to be the first woman Speaker. How could I forget Betty Boothroyd? Well, I did, and must dodge the Tiller Girl's wrath in 2011. I rejected the suggestion of a non-PC colleague to argue I was correct, and that grand Betty B was the first lady Speaker.
Kevin Maguire is associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror