Diary: How Dawn earned the soubriquet of Britain's sexiest MP


Dawn Primarolo's announcement yesterday that she will stand down as Labour MP for Bristol South in 2015 brings to mind a true tale of how trivia can spread its contagion through media outlets.

Years ago, the political editor of the Western Daily Press was tasked with writing a political diary and, suffering from a shortage of material, he chucked in a couple of sentences based on an idle conversation that had taken place among male colleagues around a dinner table, during which they had agreed that Dawn, pictured, was the sexiest MP in the Commons. The same correspondent – who now, by the way, works on a very serious upmarket publication – was somewhat shocked when his news desk rang him to say that it was far too good a story for a diary, and ordered him to write 600 words to lead a news page on "Britain's sexiest MP". This was terrible news for the political editor of the rival Bristol Evening Post – who, by the way, is now a very eminent political journalist – who was resoundingly ticked off by his news desk for missing a major local story, and ordered to contact Dawn Primarolo to see how she felt about this dubious compliment.

He rang her at home at 7.30am. "Yes," she said wearily, "I've already had BBC Radio Bristol on."

Abbott breaks Twitter silence

Some MPs write their own tweets; others would like you to think that they do, when actually their staff do it for them. Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North, was busted yesterday as being the latter category.

At 11.01 – ie half way through the two minutes' silence – a tweet appeared on the HackneyAbbott feed drawing attention to an opinion poll that was good for Labour. It quickly disappeared, to be replaced with a message that said: "Apologies. Over-enthusiastic staffer tweeted during two minute silence. I was actually in Hackney observing it." Wonder if Ms Abbott wrote that one herself.

Irony lost on one old Etonian

Paul Weller was very young when he wrote the hit "The Eton Rifles", provoked by the sight of Eton boys jeering at right-to-work marchers – though not as young as David Cameron or Boris Johnson, who were pupils at that illustrious school at the time. In middle age, the old mod teeters on the verge of being an establishment figure, what with David Cameron claiming three years ago that "The Eton Rifles" was his favourite track of all time, and other Weller songs being put to commercial use. "I've got less of a problem with an advert using it than I have a politician," he tells ShortList magazine. "When Tony Blair ran for office in 1997, they wanted to use 'The Changingman' for their campaign – but I wouldn't let them. So there are certain things I wouldn't do." Asked what he thought of Cameron complimenting "The Eton Rifles", Weller added: "I don't know how they could have misread the words so much. It's pretty simple. They're just stupid, I think."

Acrostic too clever for its own good

Stephen Pollard, the editor of The Jewish Chronicle, caused a stir on BBC's Question Time with his stout defence of Rupert Murdoch, whom he has described in the past as "one of the few genuinely great men of our time".

"I don't write for The Times," he told the studio audience in passing, though he did not say why not. He was hired as a Times columnist 10 years ago, but was fired before he had contributed so much as a word when his new employers learnt that, on his final day in his old job at the Daily Express, recently acquired by Richard Desmond, he had written a leader in which the first letter of each paragraph spelt out the message: "Fuck you Desmond".

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk