Tories braced for 'Clark Diaries 2'

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The Independent Online
Top Tories are bracing themselves for embarrassing revelations by their former colleague Steven Norris, the ex-minister who famously had five mistresses.

His memoirs, Changing Trains, to be published next month, are already being likened to the indiscreet but hugely popular Diaries of Alan Clark, the former Defence minister.

The Daily Mail has bought the book, for a reputed pounds 250,000, and publisher Random House has thrown a security blanket over its contents ahead of serialisation. But sources in the industry said: "It will be revelatory. He is so garrulous, the memoirs cannot be otherwise."

Mr Norris, a former car salesman, quit as Transport minister in the summer. He is standing down at the next election in order to make more money than he can in Parliament, but friends insist he could stage a political comeback.

It would be his second. He lost Oxford East in 1987 but returned as MP for Epping Forest in a by-election a year later.

Changing Trains - a skit on Christopher Isherwood's pre-war novel Mr Norris Changes Trains - could change all that. It will be serialised at the time of the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool next month and is sure to cause as much of a stir as the news of his five mistresses during the 1993 conference.

One Tory said then: "Steven is famous and much admired for his ability to tell fairly disgusting jokes to groups of Tory women and still make them laugh."

Mr Stevens is the son of a Royal Artillery battery sergeant major and his Liverpool upbringing is just detectable from a faint Scouse accent. He survived the scandal of his private life despite the revelations appearing at the height of John Major's "back to basics" period because he was separated from his wife. He is at present in Australia.

Another Tory ex-minister,Richard Needham, MP for Wiltshire North and best-known for having called Mrs Thatcher a "cow" on his mobile phone, is also completing his memoirs.