I'm writing Kevin Maguire's Commons Confidential column in the New Statesman for the next three weeks. You can read it on the New Statesman website HERE. For those not familiar with the column its basically like Black Dog in the Mail on Sunday - snippets of political gossip and whimsicalness :). Here's a taster...
There's nothing as "ex" as an ex-MP, as the former home secretary Charles Clarke is finding out. He was spotted lunching recently at the Haymarket Hotel with the former Blairite gatekeeper Anji Hunter, who now handles PR for Anglo American, the mining company. My lobbyist snout couldn't help but overhear the phrases "I'm skint" and "No one's interested". I can already hear the laughter emanating from Kirkcaldy. But it wasn't just Charlie C who was speaking too loudly. If my snout heard correctly, it seems that Hunter has not found it very easy to get close to David Cameron. Apparently, this Prime Minister is a little less accessible than the last.
Now the truth can be revealed. When David Davis used the phrase "Brokeback Coalition", he did so without ever having seen Brokeback Mountain the film. "I'm going to have to get the DVD," he told another Tory MP recently. I'd like to be a fly on the wall watching him watch it. Or perhaps not.
One question that is vexing Tory whips is the identity of the MP who, in the early days of Gordon Brown's premiership, was on the verge of defecting. Cosy tête-à-têtes were held at No 10, but in the end the MP in question uncharacteristically wimped out. A clue: it wasn't John Bercow.