Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
29 May 2015

Commons Confidential: Bring back our vegan brickie

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

By Kevin Maguire

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.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

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.

Content from our partners
Small businesses can be the backbone of our national recovery
Railways must adapt to how we live now
“I learn something new on every trip"

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