Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Tommy-Gun and the Spandau Connection

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Tommy-Gun and the Spandau Connection

Article excerpt

* The sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe has received a royal seal of approval, his breeding enabling him to get along famously with the Queen. He's a bookie's son and she's a race horse owner who prefers the company of gee-gees to that of Princess Anne, despite the alleged resemblance. And Sutcliffe learned how to address little old dears while a floor walker in Bradford's old Brown Muffs department store, directing the blue-rinse brigade to the trinket counter. Your correspondent's snout recalled the pair deep in conversation over lunch at Cheltenham. When a titled trainer politely asked Betty about the future of racing, she was overheard responding: "Ask the sports minister, he was speaking knowledgeably of it on TV." Move over, Simon Cowell: in Buck House, it's Sutcliffe who's big on the box.

* Haifa dozen parliamentarians are trembling over personal friendships with a youngish lady labelled a "curvy brunette" by the hacks-in-macs. MPs studying a pair of legs in stockings and suspenders, pictured in the News of the Screws for the past two weekends, believe they've identified the owner. She hasn't been spied in person since the exposure of a side of Nigel Griffiths that the Big Gordie idolator had hitherto mercifully kept fully clothed. Wee Nigel may not be the last to blush and, in no particular order, the beer brigade named two Labour MPs, a peer, one Tory, a Lib Dem and a prominent SNPer. Labour whips hope wee Nigel didn't take a snap of his female acquaintance smoking a cigar within the precincts of the Palace of Westminster. House authorities take a tolerant view of cavorting, but the No Smoking policy is strictly enforced. …

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