They may now work in a palace but the 16 public affairs types who
were elected to Parliament a fortnight ago are finding their new
facilities far from majestic.
Returning my call from a telephone box, Basildon’s new Labour MP Angela
Smith indicates that the Commons is resembling a Pickfords theme
’Hardly anyone’s got an office yet,’ says Smith, an ex-political and
public relations chief for the League Against Cruel Sports. ’Ministers
are moving into MPs’ offices, the Shadow ministers are moving into the
departments and the MPs who did not expect to lose are also having to
Despite being the only new MP contacted by the Diary to have a phone,
former Westminster Strategy director James Gray seems to feel less than
privileged. ’There’s about half a dozen of us sitting around a table in
a Conservative Party committee room. It’s hopeless: what a way to run a
country. It’s still wonderful to be here though. I really am a happy
chappy,’ the new Tory MP for North Wiltshire says.
John Healey, former TUC director of communications, intimates that other
parts of the Commons are equally cosy.
The Labour member for Wentworth says: ’When the Speaker was being
elected, I was wedged between Bernie Grant and a large lady from the
It was like travelling on the Northern Line - hot, sweaty and impossible
to move your arms about.’