Commons Confidential: Bring back our vegan brickie

Chris Williamson will be much missed by some in Palace of Westminster.

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Is this a sign of things to come? Issued with marching orders from the MoD to Communities and Local Government, the former TA officer Mark Francois was seen yomping through Portcullis House, with a flunky trailing behind carrying his possessions. The haul included a rifle range combat target of a soldier, riddled with bullet holes. Conservatives emboldened by their majority intend to take no political prisoners.

Several MPs quietly declined offices near Alex Salmond, I hear. The Tartan Chieftain has installed himself at 1 Parliament Street. Potential tenants were shown rooms and a number of MPs, muttered the informant, rejected offices as soon as the guides explained who their neighbour would be. Perhaps they worried Salmond would be forever popping in for a glass of pink champagne.

David Cameron denied during the election campaign that he had bought a holiday home in Cornwall. The Prime Minister visits the county regularly with his family and the information was, I gather, from a Tory source. Tony Blair purchased a string of properties before he departed Downing Street. Estate agents should form a disorderly queue outside No 10.

Ed Miliband was worried on 8 May that he’d let his dad down. An impeccable source whispered the exhausted, teary ex-leader groaned that the defeat had besmirched his father’s memory and would reaffirm the views of those who’d always considered his elder brother, David, to be the brighter of the pair. Labour spin doctors routinely denied TB-GB spats until Blair and Brown confirmed that the rifts were as bad as journalists reported, if not worse. Evidence suggests the Labour leadership is a psychodrama.

Asked which defeated MP the staff would most miss, a copper on one of parliament’s gates answered Chris Williamson. He was possibly Britain’s only vegan bricklayer-turned-MP. The red environmentalist was a Tory scalp by 41 votes in Derby North, in part due to the Greens taking 1,618 votes back in fifth place. Staff loved Williamson because he was polite and displayed no airs and graces. Unlike some.

Over at the Treasury I discovered few tears had been shed for the defeated Danny Alexander. Security guards in particular considered the Tory-tamed Liberal Democrat of the coalition government to be surprisingly haughty. He got off to a bad start by insisting he inspect a succession of vehicles before selecting which one his Whitehall chauffeur would drive. Alexander is a little broad of beam. One snout recalled the former chief secretary sitting in the back of each to decide which was the most comfortable for a minister of his stature.

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 27 May 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Saying the Unsayable

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