Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Clegg's Slice of Phone-Hacking Luck

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Clegg's Slice of Phone-Hacking Luck

Article excerpt

To tea for a natter with a cabinet minister. After he'd expressed disbelief at Willie Hague extending the austerity drive to twin bedrooms, the conversation turned, as it tends to these days with Conservative politicians, to the Labour soap opera. Miliband Street is gripping the Tory party as much, if not more, than it is the Labour Party. The minister assured me that the Cons fear the elder Milibrother, David, but are fascinated by the potential of his younger sibling, Ed. However, he insisted the Cameroonies believe the Milibrothers share Gordon Brown's two fatal flaws: David Mili inherited a lack of emotional intelligence, Ed Mili the indecision. Ouch.

Harriet Harman, acting Labour leader, is, I hear, refusing to rubber-stamp a gaggle of peers proposed by Big Gordie. The decision, she says, must await the new leader. Who could be on such a list? Donors, apparently.

David Cameron's fag, Nick Clegg, enjoyed minding Downing Street while the head prefect was away. The Con and the Dem kept in touch by text, presumably because they're modern men and certainly not because they feared Andy "I Knew Nothing" Coulson might listen to voice messages. It is fortunate they text. A deep throat rang to report how workmen had cut off Clegg in his (deputy) prime, slicing through the home telephone cable in south London.

Index envy left hacks, including your correspondent, putting on a brave face after Tony Blair forgot us on that journey. Piers Morgan mentioned the Blair family 87 times in his own memoir yet the ex-PM seems not to have known Morgan, mentioning him zero times. …

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