Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Commons Confidential

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Commons Confidential

Article excerpt

* Early in the week Jacqui Smith gave me her first print interview since she resigned. In close on two hours we covered a lot of ground, but I like to end up with quick-fire questions. "What's the most romantic thing you've ever done?" I asked. Quick as a flash, she replied: "Not make my husband sleep on the sofa for the last six months."

* I was up in my old stomping ground of Norwich at the weekend, sniffing the by election air. The Lib Dems had achieved the remarkable feat on the same day of writing to the Tory candidate, Chlose Smith, saying they wanted a good clean campaign and, in the next breath, smearing the Green candidate, Rupert Read, as an "extremist". How did they get a reputation as the nice guys of British politics? Most locals I spoke to reckoned Ian Gibson would stand as an independent, yet few said they would support him. He may have been treated badly, but his endorsement of Labour's new standard-bearer, Chris Ostrowski, was quick and without caveat. What a paradox that Ostrowski works for John Lewis. Wasn't it their "list" that sparked off the expenses furore in the first place?

* Over the past few months the holidaying Kevin Maguire has been toying with the former shadow home secretary David Davis like a cat toys with a mouse. Davis's famous ice pick went missing during an office move and in recent NS columns our intrepid reporter appeared to know more about its whereabouts than he was letting on. He kept hinting that it was to be found above a wardrobe. Last week Davis was peering at his new office cupboard and decided on a whim to clamber up and look on top. …

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