Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Party Lines

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Party Lines

Article excerpt

Byline: By Zoe Hughes

As David Cameron arrives in the North-East today, observers may well be wondering whether they're looking at a future Prime Minister.

Since comfortably sailing into the final round of the Tory leadership contest, the 39-year-old young pretender has been hailed as the potential saviour of the Conservative Party, not least in part due to his resemblance, in youth and style, to Tony Blair.

He is in touch with a generation long forgotten by the party, some have said, while others have commented on his common touch.

Labour MPs however have been saying something completely different, and not just about his Eton education.

Watching the shadow education secretary as he went head-to-head with Ruth Kelly over the Government's education White Paper, many were left wondering just what commentators had been talking about for the past two months. "Mr Cellophane," one veteran said as he left the Commons chamber, swiftly followed by Blyth Valley's Ronnie Campbell who added: "He's going to be murdered by Blair."

Well, at least the Tory Party is keeping up with leadership tradition.

IT is a title jealously guarded, so when Blaydon's Dave Anderson entered his dog Bess into Westminster's Dog of the Year competition, the rivalry was intense.

Seven-year-old Bess had been duly brought down from the constituency the night before, been well fed and watered, and had had the obligatory brush down just moments before entering the field.

In fact compared to many of the other contestants, Bess was a dream for the judges. Calm, cool and collected. In the end though it was not to be ( with first, second and third places taken by Tory MPs and peers.

"It was a Tory coup," moaned Mr Anderson after the event. "We were robbed, completely robbed."

Mr Anderson though is not a bitter man, instead he is blaming his North-East colleague Vera Baird for his defeat after she scooped last year's title with her Bedlington Terrier Zack. "I'm blaming Vera, she made it impossible for us Labour contestants."

THE publication of MPs' expenses has caused more than a few ruffled feathers in Parliament, and not just among the politicians. …

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