Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Food Fight in the Commons Dining Room

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Food Fight in the Commons Dining Room

Article excerpt

I hear of mass indigestion in the Members' Dining Room. MPs protested on discovering since the summer recess that they must queue up to pay at a till instead of settling up at the table with a waiter. Complaints turned into a near-riot when political lightweights happy to slurp the minestrone found that, under the new Commons regime, they're charged the same [pounds sterling]15 fixed rate as heavyweights such as Nicholas "Bunter" Soames or Tommy "Two Dinners" Watson scoffing three courses.

The [pounds sterling]15 rate is the maximum that Ipsa expenses-busters allow for an evening meal since the clampdown on duckhouses. Nosy voters will be dismayed to learn that the bills handed to MPs for reimbursement do not itemise what they've scoffed. The authorities wish to spare the blushes of fatties when receipts are published.

The government's fallen saint, guilt-ridden Vince Cable, has swapped a ministerial Jag inherited from grand Lord Mandelson of Self-Publicity for a modest Toyota Prius. Meanwhile, Cameron's pet northerner, Eric Pickles, has traded up from a Prius to a Jag.

TV make-up ladies whisper that panda-eyed Ed "Teddy" Miliband is concerned about the bags deepening only a few weeks into the Labour job. The Tedettes, however, are relaxed and tell Edward (as he likes to be addressed in Hansard) that the bags (large enough to carry his shopping) make him appear an old head on young shoulders.

Commons staff earning pin money taking visitors around the Mock Gothic Fun Palace are being re-educated. …

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