Casting a Rheumy Gaze around the Chamber, Charlie Realised He Was Under-Dressed

Daily Mail (London), November 2, 2010 | Go to article overview

Casting a Rheumy Gaze around the Chamber, Charlie Realised He Was Under-Dressed


Byline: Quentin Letts Yesterday in Parliament

PERSONALLY, I have never believed the cruel stereotype of parsimonious Scots. But in walked that dodger Charlie Kennedy (Lib Dem, Ross, Skye and Lochaber) yesterday, to make one think again.

Mr Kennedy arrived a few minutes before the Prime Minister's statement on his latest European summit.

He sat himself down and twiddled his thumbs for a moment. Then, casting a rheumy gaze round the Chamber, he realised that he was under- dressed.

He had no poppy in his lapel. Rather than nip outside to buy one, Mr Kennedy leaned back and burped a few words at young Jo Swinson (Lib Dem, East Dumbartonshire).

She obediently unpinned her own poppy and handed it discreetly - not discreetly enough! - to Mr Kennedy.

After a few seconds of delay, during which he scoured the press gallery to check if he had been seen, Charlie inserted it in his own lapel. Bold as an urban fox.

This meant that when Mr Kennedy got to ask a question from the floor of the House (technical term), television viewers saw him sporting the emblem of supreme sacrifice.

Question done, he unplugged it from his jacket and casually returned it to its owner, having first checked that she wanted it back. To this enquiry I saw Miss Swinson utter a marked 'yes!', complete with a 'hand it back, matey' gesture.

Memo to Royal British Legion collectors in the Ross, Skye and Lochaber area: if knocking on the door of the Kennedy bothy, persist. He may well be in, even if the lights are off.

The Commons had a busy day. In addition to Gordon Brown's speech which was expected last night, we had Home Office Questions, David Cameron on Europe, Theresa May on the latest bomb plot and a main debate on voting reform.

All that before Mr Brown's expected oration on why the taxpayer should shower yet more money on his constituents.

There was a lot of activity in the House before Mr Cameron's Europe statement. David Lidington, Europe Minister, fluttered round the backbenches, chatting up various Tory MPs.

One moment Mr Lidington was near the civil service box to the right of the Speaker's Chair, where a knot of Eurosceptic Tories had plonked themselves. …

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