Pandora: Davis downsizes in Tory naughty corner
Wednesday 16 July 2008
Now that David Davis has forsaken the trappings of a shadow minister, he must confront the everyday life of a backbench MP.
The former shadow Home Secretary, who resigned from the Commons over the government's controversial 42-day detention Bill, has had to hand over his comfortable three-room office to his successor, Dominic Grieve.
Despite regaining his seat in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election, the champion of British liberties has been forced to downsize, and will be moving his boxes into smaller quarters in Portcullis House.
Interestingly, I'm told he'll be sharing a corner with his old home affairs chum Patrick Mercer, the Tories' former homeland security spokesman, who also resigned from the front bench after he informed an interviewer that being called a "black bastard" was a normal part of Army life.
I hope pairing the two off won't lead to any mischief-making. Mercer, you might recall, infuriated David Cameron after he resigned by taking a job as an adviser to Gordon Brown on security issues.
"I was very pleased. As you know David is an old friend of mine," says Mercer. "It's a very nice office. It's very well situated – nice and close to the chamber, which is convenient, and it's good for meeting people.
"I was absolutely chuffed when I was given an office in that corridor."
Gavin's mum pulls the strings
Further proof, if needed, that Gavin Rossdale's recent courtside appearance at the Wimbledon tennis final wasn't merely an exercise in self-publicity.
Last week, a spokesman for the British rock star, assured me he was in fact a mustard-keen player.
Since then, Rossdale's mother has been in touch to inform me his interest in the game has actually been a life-long obsession.
"Gavin was a very keen player as a youngster," she says. "And as I am sure you are aware he still plays most days when he can."
The same apparently isn't true of the missus. A pal says dashing round the court can play havoc with her platinum bouffant.
The odd couple
It's a sight you won't see very often – brutally uncompromising former England footballer Martin Keown conversing with the exotic fashion designer Henry Holland. Pandora spotted the pair exchanging pleasantries at BT's Hub House Party on Monday evening. What on earth were they talking about? "He was wearing shorts. I was going to ask him if he was here to play football," said Keown. "Then someone told me he was a fashion designer."
Crossing to Rubicon
Over in Whitehall, the rats are continuing to scuttle down the mooring ropes of the ship of state. The Department of Health's deputy head of news, Ben Lewis, has joined the financial PR company Blue Rubicon, according PR Week.
The industry bible has been keeping a beady eye over the past few months on the alarming number of Labour advisers leaving to find work in the private sector.
Here's fun. Swotty computer bods from Our Say, an organisation campaigning for local and national referenda, have devised a new computer game urging users to " punish the PM ".
Users throw a stone at an animated Gordon Brown to select a cartoon in which Brown gets a pasting.
Pandora's favourite is the one in which David Cameron and a bunch of hoodies infiltrate Downing Street and urinate on the carpet.
Konnie plans her next adventure
Konnie Huq is still finding her berth after leaving Blue Peter in February this year.
Kuq's latest wheeze is to reinvent herself as the Alan Whicker de nos jours. "I'd love to do a travel programme – they're so bland nowadays, it's like they only film them when companies give them good deals," she tells Pandora.
"I was such a fan of the Rough Guide and then it went to Channel 5 and it became so rubbish. I'd like to take it back to what it was and go somewhere really unusual."
In April, Huq paraded the Olympic torch around London before several pro-Tibet protesters tried to wrestle the flame from her grasp. Perhaps China might be a good place to start?
"Er, no," she adds firmly.
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