… in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus.
Well, actually from the Whips’ Office, that Tory MPs were to cheer Cameron (another immaculate conception) at PMQs.Was it just Malcolm’s error that the Tory benches were not quite as bum–cheek-to-cheek as usual?
Yesterday Malcolm mused on the draconian measures and dirty deeds at the the Whips’ disposal:
Once upon a time the Tory Chief Whip carried a legendary “Black Book” which itemised individual MPs’ sexual and financial scrapes, all there to be applied at arm-twisting time. According to chief whip Patrick McLoughlin the book still exists, but is actually blue.
If a rebel MP happened to find his spouse or constituency chairman became aware of a recent folly, or — shock, horror! — the ears and note-books of the lobby reptiles were twitching, that would be merely a coincidence, perhaps? But, as sure as day follows night, the Whips would be mentioning it as an awful warning to others next time.
So what has Hugh Muir got for us to round off today’s Guardian Diary column? Ah, yes!
… more recriminations: this time from Monday’s Tory rebellion over Europe. Given the scale of the humiliation, expect it to get nasty. Indeed the whips may make something of the fact that Bernard Jenkin, one of the highest profile Tory refuseniks, is also a noted nudist. But if they stoop that low, we shall offer him our towel, and generally do everything to defend him.
Coincidence? Perhaps … except that Jenkin had first question in today’s PMQs. And, by coincidence, was the only MP to go on Europe. Admittedly his was mainly a swipe at the ever-deserving Clegg, but this show could run and run.
And, yes, we have heard of Jenkin previously. He had to get Dad to sub him £45,000 unlawful expenses for renting his sister’s pad.
But isn’t it interesting that the naturist streak was the one to surface?