Commons confidential: Sunday, Dougie Sunday

Dougie Alexander has been working for Bono since being pumelled in Paisley by student Mhairi Black - but what are the U2 star's tax arrangements?

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The private-school-hunting, self-declared lover of state education David Cameron is taking time out from plotting to spend crazy amounts of money on his son’s education (though not his daughter’s – does Dave think that girls aren’t worth it?) to run the Labour Party, as he shuffles his way into Tory retirement. Bumping into Gloria De Piero behind the Speaker’s chair, Sham Cam was overheard braying: “Are you still in the shadow cabinet? It must be so toxic for you.” Not as poisonous as a PM saying one thing and doing another.

No 10 threatened to bring an emergency brake down on journalists who wrote about the expensive school by withholding updates on EU negotiations after the European Council’s head honcho, Donald Tusk, popped into Downing Street for a beef fillet and apple crumble.

Like a lone Japanese soldier still fighting after the emperor’s surrender, the failed Tory election candidate Anna Firth describes herself as a “parliamentary spokesperson” in Erith and Thamesmead. Somebody please inform Farcical Firth, who was overlooked in Rochester when the Cons plumped for Kelly Tolhurst to vanquish the defector Mark Reckless, that the war, for her, is over. Labour’s Teresa Pearce nearly doubled her majority in the Erith seat.

Dougie Alexander has been working for Bono since his pummelling in Paisley by the student Mhairi Black, prompting a Strangers’ Bar discussion about the U2 anti-poverty campaigner’s tax arrangements. Will the former international development secretary lecture the star on the need for people to cough up so that countries reach the UN’s 0.7 per cent aid target?

By convention, discussion of the royals is suffocated in the Commons chamber – but thankfully not elsewhere in the palace. Prince Harry, a royalist whispered, admits in private that he detests football and its “aggressive” fans. That should add sporting rivalry to the rugger bugger’s relationship with his elder brother, William. The Duke of Cambridge is a fan of the beautiful game, supporting Aston Villa and enjoying free tickets as the president of the Football Association.

Does Jeremy Corbyn enjoy being Labour leader? You have to wonder when, I am reliably informed, one of the MPs who voted for him, a member of an elite band of 14 or so, frequently claims: “We have ruined his life.”

Anyone who is anyone in the labour movement crowded into the Jubilee Room to bid farewell to the GMB union leader, Paul Kenny, and to greet his successor, Tim Roache. Kenny singled out Ed Miliband for praise. “That was the best manifesto that we were never elected on,” he said. I swear I saw Miliband’s eyes moisten.

Kevin Maguire is the 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 appears in the 05 February 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Putin's war

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