Tara Hamilton-Miller: We must focus on Cameron's trunks

School's out for the summer and with August nearly upon us a girl's thoughts turn to David Cameron's shorts.

Tara Hamilton-Miller
Tara Hamilton-Miller

In 2007 before anyone was using the phrase 'credit crunch' he wore Vilebrequin; in 2008 he sported the less flash, faded Bodens; this year it has to be Primark. The mood of the nation can be judged by Cameron's beach attire.

Although MPs officially now have a couple of months off, as far as Conservative Party chairman Eric Pickles is concerned, the election has already started.

In Norwich this week for the by-election he said the party was more than prepared for a proper election in late autumn should Brown have the guts to go ahead.

Although it would be wise for MPs to take the time to have a proper holiday, this year it is hard to imagine many will be comfortable heading off to anywhere exotic. The mood surrounding expenses is still one of anger, and any MP wandering around Waitrose with a Barbados tan is sure to be thumped.

It cannot be underestimated how long this is going to take to clear up. In the world of Westminster, political geeks get terribly excited about small stories. This was different. The Telegraph's thorough investigation has changed everything. This year various groups we are all meant to look up to were shown up - bankers, policemen, parliamentarians.

There is an odd feeling in SW1 this summer. Labour MPs are unsettled and scared, Tory MPs are playing the waiting game. Parliamentary candidates in winnable seats are excited though exhausted.

If you were Gordon Brown or any MP, would it be possible to switch off and read a John Grisham paperback in Nice? Come September expect at least another 20 MPs to announce they will stand down. This week alone I bumped into two (Labour) MPs who said they were going to use the summer to make a final decision but they had lost passion for the fight.

No-one in politics will rest over the next eight weeks. Even Lord Mandelson has suggested he will be staying in the UK this year - he can't bear to be too far from the action, plus Corfu was so dull last year.

Tara Hamilton-Miller is a political adviser and formerly worked for the Conservative Party press team.

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