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9 May 2005

I see Thatcher in all her glory

Election: the night Kevin Maguire on the gossip

By Kevin Maguire

Lady Thatcher’s election-night sequins put Blackpool Tower in the shade, the thousands of sparkly beads on the Iron Lady’s black ensemble leaving her looking like a pearly queen on the way to a funeral. The three-times Tory winner won a round of applause as she boarded the good ship Silver Sturgeon to watch Labour score its hat-trick. ITV had filled the Thames cruiser, moored beneath the London Eye, with a flotilla of B-list celebs to fill airtime while waiting for the results to come in. Lady T’s face turned to thunder as it dawned on her that she was rubbing shoulders with such political heavyweights as Nicholas “Sale of the Century” Parsons, Tony “Baldrick” Robinson and the ex-boxer Chris Eubank. How the mighty has fallen.

Labour finance chiefs have done a deal with a recycling company, earning a bounty on every clapped-out portable telephone they hand in. They must have plenty, as the party’s spin-doctors have rendered many mobile phones useless by yelling repeated abuse at off-message hacks. If they had come up with the wheeze in 1994, Alastair Campbell alone could have funded this year’s campaign.

The defeat of the bon vivant Helen Clark in Peterborough followed the deselection of her conjoined twin, Jane Griffiths, in Reading East. This will leave empty a pair of bar stools in the House of Commons Strangers’ Bar. Staff in the refreshments department fear redundancies.

The campaign weapon of mass deception award was snatched on polling day by the Liberal Democrat Susan Kramer in Richmond Park, the south-west London constituency. She had spent the past fortnight fulminating against Tony Blair’s scaremongering that backing Charlie Kennedy could put Michael Howard in No 10. Then she had Lib Dem pink leaflets delivered with the headline: “Why Michael Howard needs you to vote Labour.”

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