Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Gallant Protector

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Gallant Protector

Article excerpt

* Tory dominatrix Theresa May is proving quite an attraction at Thursday's business questions. Once famous for her shoes, the shadow leader of the house is now pulling in unreconstructed MPs eager to discover if she's wearing another of her daring low-cut tops. Racy Ms May's embonpoint has inspired enthusiasm in the finer points of parliamentary couture, and the whips have noted rising interest on both sides of the House. Yet her wardrobe could halt a modernisation proposal. A grandee huffed that Jack "The Lad" Straw's backing for TV cameras mounted on the despatch box was a bad idea if viewers get an eyeful. Some northern Labour types beg to differ.

* I predict another tantrum from foot-in-mouth machine Cherie Blair when she learns what her antisocial neighbour is up to now. The word is Big Gordie intends to use Chequers if (make that "when") he succeeds her hubby, swapping the hair shirt that saw him reject Dorneywood for the Barbour jacket of state that goes with the premiership. Already feeling squeezed out of Downing Street after the Browns moved into the flat above No 10, a friend of Mrs B fears an outburst when forced to accept the inevitable about Big Gordie and his designs on her weekend retreat.

* Government whips are struggling to fill seven golf caddy vacancies created in September's PPS coup, with several backbenchers turning down the unpaid opportunity to fetch and carry. One surprising recruit is big Davy Anderson, lefty ex-miner, agreeing to serve the university fees minister Bill Rammell. There would have been an extra vacancy if the epistle from the 2001 intake had been followed by publication of the one from the 2005 intake similarly demanding that Blair name the day. …

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