Commons Confidential: Ed’s accusing finger

John Woodcock, MP for Barrow and Furness who chairs the Blairite faction, was accused by the wobbly one’s praetorian guard of stirring the pot.

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Milibandites point an accusing finger at Labour’s Progress tendency for destabilising tales of plots and supposed letters demanding the head of Ed. John Woodcock, the MP for Barrow and Furness and a former frontbencher who chairs the Blairite faction, was accused by the wobbly one’s praetorian guard of stirring the pot. The intended beneficiary, according to a well-placed snout, is the business-friendly Chuka Umunna, under the spell of Peter Mandelson. Big money is apparently lined up behind an Umunna leadership bid, whenever it comes, with the Progress sugar daddy Lord Sainsbury ready to open a fat chequebook that has been kept shut to Labour since Ed Milibrother beat David. Just because Mil the Younger is now paranoid, that doesn’t mean he isn’t aware of who is out to get him.

Buller Boy Cameron will be desperate to avoid another of his Dave the Sexist blunders at the G20 in Brisbane. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady is also attending the summit of international leaders. During a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Prime Minister peered into the audience for questions and picked “the lady in the red dress”. The lady in red was O’Grady.

Dave the Sexist’s spinners claimed that the bright lights had blinded their man. This excuse is feasible but couldn’t be deployed after he suggested, with schoolboy innuendo, that Nadine Dorries, the Con MP, was “extremely frustrated” or after he instructed Labour’s Angela Eagle, “Calm down, dear.”

Labour’s deputy leader is unfairly stereotyped as dour. I bring you two further examples of Harriet Harman’s humour. The row over feminist T-shirts that were allegedly made in a Mauritian sweatshop isn’t funny but Harperson raises a laugh at events by quipping that she owns tights older than members of Young Labour. She also claims to have been mistaken several times for the cross-dressing potter Grayson Perry. Only the tribal Harman could be relieved to be confused with a Labour-supporting male artist rather than with Claire Perry, the Tory minister.

I’ve heard a new name mentioned for speaker when John Bercow hangs up his cape. It is that of Stephen Pound, the tattooed Ealing wit. Popular Pound, a former merchant navy seaman and bus conductor, is follically challenged, so the wig that goes with the job may prove a greater inducement than the apartment.

Alan Johnson isn’t interested in a new job, but the former home secretary’s one-time special adviser Mario Dunn has popped up in a new role. Un-Super Mario is spinning for Maximus, the US firm now doing Atos’s old work of assessing the “fitness” of disabled benefit claimants. Nasty work if you can get it. 

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 13 November 2014 issue of the New Statesman, Nigel Farage: The Arsonist

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