Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Mandy Is Handy but Will Cameron Play the Field?

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Mandy Is Handy but Will Cameron Play the Field?

Article excerpt

* The BBC presenter Andrew Marr has achieved for Peter Mandelson what always eluded Tony Blair. The schoolmarmish Morecambe MP Geraldine Smith was so impressed by the way the Prince of Darkness turned the tables on Marr and grilled him on his own Sunday show over the fate of Gordon Brown that she announced to Labour MPs: "Something happened to me that has never happened before and I never thought would happen. I found myself in love with Peter Mandelson." Mandy blushed and momentarily smiled at Miss Smith before swiftly looking away, presumably remembering that his gaze used to turn Labour MPs to stone.

* The Speaker's assassin, Herman Munster's long-lost relative Douglas Carswell, is feeling hounded over his own expenses. The Tory MP protested: "I'm not a wealthy man," when his local Essex rag queried a [pounds sterling]23,083 claim for a second home in the constituency. This from a one-time City boy with a place in London and a house rented out in Hertfordshire.

An uncharitable colleague expressed surprise Carswell had purchased, at public expense, a [pounds sterling]32.97 Toni & Guy hairdryer. The MP said he'd always imagined Herman recharging himself every night with an electric helmet.

* At the BBC, I bump into Ben Bradshaw, the Radio Devon reporter now overseeing the DG as cabinet culture vulture. How much, 1 asked, trying to sound innocent, is the licence fee? "One hundred and forty ... erm ... that's one of those facts I must remember to avoid being caught out on," he replied as an aide ushered him out. …

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