Mortified Marr milks it with messy May

Hitherto loyal Downing Street colleagues of Andy "I knew nothing" Coulson have started speculating over the spin-doctor's departure date. There's even talk of a £400,000 offer on the table from a City PR outfit. Access to David Cameron and George Osborne is valuable, worth more than the cost in reputation of hiring a figure tainted by the telephone hacking scandal. Before last May's election, Coulson spun that he didn't intend to go into No 10. In another six months the former News of the Screws editor will have clocked up a year. The snout muttered that that could be sold as a reasonable point for Coulson to move on. We'll see.

Feisty Theresa May isn't a Home Secretary to cry over spilt milk - except when it's tipped on her expensive silk trouser suit. The jug was knocked over by Andrew Marr while the pair breakfasted after she had appeared on his Sunday morning show. Mortified Marr offered to pay the dry-cleaning bill, I hear, as he mopped the Tory with paper napkins. Milk-maid May was forced to return home to Maidenhead to change before returning to central London to deal with the airline ink bomb plot. No wonder BBC-government relations have soured.

Ed Miliband displayed the ruthlessness used to pinch big brother David's job in filleting a ten-strong list of peers inherited from Gordon Brown. Harriet Harman, when acting leader, as regular readers of this column may recall, refused to endorse Gordie's nominees. The word is Little Ted deleted three donors (Unite baron Derek Simpson, Stoke City chairman Peter Coates and private equity capitalist Nigel Doughty) plus Labour fundraiser Jon Mendelsohn. One of the new Labour peers will enter the House of Cronies with a unique record: Oona King stepped down from the Labour NEC to which she was elected in September without ever attending a meeting. Lady King's still entitled to a certificate thanking her for her service.

Miliband faces a fresh shadow cabinet revolt, this time over travel expenses. Party spokesmen and women are threatening a great "no-go" over instructions to buy train and flight tickets, then claim 'em back from the party. One member's threatened to hitch-hike, claiming he's too broke to pay upfront.

Palace favourite Tom Bradby's interview with Wills and Kate was a respectful scoop by royal appointment. ITV's political editor, however, is no stranger to high jinks. Flying home with Gordon Brown's party after the Copenhagen global warming summit, British Airways cabin crew watched as Bradby surfed down the plane's aisle on a drinks trolley. Prince William, a helicopter pilot, would've been mightily impressed by the politico's sense of balance.

A Westminster racing syndicate abandoned attempts to name its new horse Jennie Lee. Turf authorities placed one hurdle too many in the way by ruling that permission must be obtained from the late Labour minister's surviving relatives. So it's mare Fashion Stakes, not Jennie Lee, at Haydock Park next month.

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 29 November 2010 issue of the New Statesman, Congo