TV’s Bercow upsets understudy

The matchbox-sized Speaker, John Bercow, has been lauded for his part in exposing the Murdoch empire's hacking scandal, including the granting of an emergency debate. Yet a radar-lugged snout overheard one of his deputies, Nigel Evans, complaining Big John is hogging the limelight. "The moment the TV cameras are back on," sniffed Evans, "Bercow's back in the chair." Friends of dapper Evans snigger he'd go to the opening of an envelope if it put him on the telly. The words pot, kettle and black spring to mind.

Labour women swarmed like bees around the honeypot actor Kevin "Lewis" Whately at the ITV summer party for parliamentarians. My informant with the envy complex spied Caroline Flint, Meg Munn and Siobhain McDonagh buzzing around Whately. The shadow deputy PM and stern keeper of the suffragette flame, Harriet Harperson, would not have been amused.

Sky Sports risked an own goal if Rupert had bought all of BSkyB. The wife of John Monks, the peer and former TUC general secretary, threatened to cancel his subscription over the Milly Dowler hacking. Monks, a Man United fan, will carry on watching only after agreeing to pull the plug if Murdoch ever acquires 100 per cent.

A phantom pipe puffer defies the Mock-Gothic Fun Palace's smoking ban. Every Thursday afternoon, pungent tobacco fumes polluted the Press Gallery garrett of the People's Nigel Nelson and the Sunday Mirror's Vincent Moss. Nose-wrinkling vapours seeped under a locked, heavy wooden door from MPs' offices near Big Ben. Unable to catch the culprits, both tabloid scribblers were left fuming.

I gather that Major General Murad Muwafi, head of Egypt's General Intelligence Directorate, postponed a mid-July visit to Britain "due to unforeseen circumstances". It was thoughtful of Wafik Moustafa, chairman of the Conservative Arab Network, to email Labour MPs, including Ealing North's Stephen Pound, who had hitherto showed little interest in Tory-Middle East links. Future curiosity, however, is aroused.

Rebekah Brooks maintains that she got the Sun's tale of Gordon Brown's youngest son's cystic fibrosis from a hospital patient's family. Two impeccable sources rang with lawfully obtained medical information about the red-top redhead. Your correspondent believes that Ms Brooks is entitled to a privacy she denied others.

To the 90th birthday bash at Soho's Gay Hussar of Geoffrey Goodman, friend of Bevan and Foot and doyen of industrial journalism. Neil Kinnock, who was abused by Murdoch, was asked about the Dirty Digger's travails. Kinnock replied, "Terrible, boyo, bloody terrible," before collapsing in laughter. Revenge is a dish best served cold before the venison goulash.

This column is taking a break until the end of August, so Happy Holidays to all its snouts, informants and, of course, dear readers.

Kevin Maguire is associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror