Diary: New members find their first week in Parliament a moving experience

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.

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

park.



’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

move.’



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

north west.



It was like travelling on the Northern Line - hot, sweaty and impossible

to move your arms about.’



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