Commons Confidential

Cameron clucks off.

Gordon Brown's resignation, depending on your point of view, was either a heroic act of self-immolation or a cynical power play. But the departure date was strictly his call. A snout whispered that Peter Mandelson had wanted Broon out immediately so that David Miliband could be crowned temporary PM, with an eye to the long term. The Talibrown, anxious to ensure Big Gordie's DNA survives in the shape of Ed Balls, wanted the departure set for 2011.

David Cameron was clucking relaxed during his party's talks with Nick Clegg's team. The Tory leader said that his election highlight had been decapitating the Daily Mirror's chicken-suited correspondent. Passing one of the paper's reporters in Portcullis House, Cameron was heard making cluck-cluck noises. How appropriate for a man winging his way to a deal.

Those Miliband lads, David and Ed, are coy about sibling rivalry. But I hear that Ed the Younger told their mum, Marion, that he may break a past promise and run against Big Bruvver David. We could see a family fight for socialism. David Miliboy's campaign has advanced under Mandelson's patronage. The Blairites James Purnell and the other Phil Collins - an ex-No 10 staffer-turned-Times scribbler - are already on board.

New MPs and old hands alike have been issued with five-year passes to Westminster. In a hung parliament, that's what I call optimistic.

The leadership intentions, or otherwise, of the lefty Jon Cruddas are arousing speculation. Seumas Milne, the even leftier columnist for the Lib Dem Guardian, received an irate call after writing that Cruddas would back David Miliboy. Intriguingly, Cruddas declined the offer of a printed correction.

Harriet Harman is often ribbed for being a politically correct Harperson (not least by your correspondent), but she's no humourless Miss Jean Brodie. Labour's head girl quips that she is a Westminster Wag now that her hubby, "I'm All Right Jack" Dromey, has been elected in Birmingham Erdington. She has visited his constituency flat, but will draw the line at housework. In that couple, both wear the trousers.

Most dispossessed MPs accepted defeat better than Shahid Malik, who rang a hack to insist that boundary changes - not expenses including a £730 massage chair - did for him in Dewsbury. At least that's what the journo thought a blubbing Malik was saying.

That Lib Dem, Lembit Öpik, is busy forging a new career as a gob-for-hire on the airwaves. A source said that the cheeky boy begged Stephen Pound for his late-night newspaper review slot on Sky News. The Labour MP replied that he's a pluralist, but no soft touch, and sent Öpik on his way.

Calling all snouts: is anyone prepared to share the name of the Labour candidate arrested for suspected drink-driving during the campaign?

Kevin Maguire is 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 first appeared in the 17 May 2010 issue of the New Statesman, On a tightrope