Tara Hamilton-Miller: Relax in recess? Not today's MPs

Rose on the Commons terrace, summer parties, early finishes. The end of July before recess used to be a jolly time for MPs.

Tara Hamilton-Miller
Tara Hamilton-Miller

This year, everything still appears fragile in the House. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are learning to love each other and Labour, still in denial about its loss, watches a pair of great brothers grow further apart.

How different from years gone past. The long balmy summers abroad when all MPs had to worry about was telling The Telegraph what blockbuster they would be reading in Positano. Their reading lists had to give a taste of who they were: a renaissance man, a romantic, an academic, a pervert.

Before the break, Cameron is travelling to India with half his cabinet, business CEOs and Kelly Holmes. Holmes has become British mascot of choice - Seb Coe (who is also going) and Tony Blair took Holmes with them as part of the Olympic bid. If he wants to show off our national treasures, Cameron should have gone the whole hog and taken Michael Palin, Cheryl Cole, Aled Jones and the nice girl from Springwatch.

The Indians cannot fail to be impressed and press orders into Cameron's hand for more Hunter Wellingtons, Marmite and translations of Larkrise to Candleford. Our irritable MPs are being encouraged to stay in Britain - Cameron, after this month's extensive travels, is heading to Cornwall. Tories have been encouraged to do some volunteering, possibly get together with a nice Lib Dem family for a game of Petanque. New Tory MPs are exhausted and glumly report 'no fun'. We have been blessed with some sun, so we can indulge in Cameron's 'Darling Buds of May' summer; deckchairs, tickling our sweethearts in secluded coves in a hazy dream of DIY bobbies-on-the-beat and the Big Society.

As the Tories decamp, they will not relax. The Party Conference in Birmingham is ten weeks away and they must prepare for the mighty army that is the Tory grassroots. These troops are not content. Many of Cameron's team are wise enough to understand this conference will be about reassuring and appeasing the faithful. With or without Kelly Holmes.

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

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