The contest to be Parliament’s most shameless attention-seeker features many ego-driven males, but fewer women.
Occasionally, though, there comes a woman MP who can cry “Look at me” so persistently that even the males are eclipsed. In our time, there is Nadine Dorries, who bunked off to Australia one recess to be on I’m a Celebrity. A generation ago, there was Edwina Currie, who has just bunked off to Australia to be on I’m a Celebrity.
You would think they could be friends, but when Dorries appeared on the programme, Currie described it as “ritual humiliation” and suggested that a serving MP should be looking after her constituents. At the weekend, Dorries hit back by accusing Currie of “total hypocrisy”.
Actually, it is not “total hypocrisy” – though it is surprising. Currie has not been an MP for years, so cannot be accused of neglecting her electorate, but you would think that in her 60s she had reached an age when she could forego making an exhibition of herself in the jungle.
But then, full disclosure, I know Currie slightly, and rather like her. I don’t know Dorries, but she doesn’t like me: a vile misogynist, she once called me after I had written something that displeased her.
Rory Stewart's special delivery
Rory Stewart is probably the most adventurous MP in the current Parliament, having walked across Afghanistan, and been under siege in Iraq.
To his many adventures, he has now added delivering a baby. His new born son Alexander Wolf, turned up at around 5.30 am, so quickly that the midwife did not arrive on time, and so the father supervised the delivery, on the bath room floor. Baby and mother, Shoshana, are “very well.”
There was sure to be a reaction after a post went up on the Royal Navy’s Facebook page saying that Vice Admiral David Steel had met with Stonewall to talk about how to make the navy a better work place for gays and lesbians.
Much of the reaction was positive, but out of the sludge came the disgusted reaction of Gregory Lauder-Frost, Vice-President of the Traditional Britain Group. “Absolutely monstrous,” he wrote. “A once great Royal Navy reduced to this filth.”
Traditional Britain is a right-wing fringe group that opposes immigration, gay marriage, the EU, and almost any change that has come over Britain since the 1950s. The group enjoyed brief fame in August last year after Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg naively agreed to speak at one of their dinners, only to be acutely embarrassed later when he learnt just how reactionary they are.
Sunday marked the fifth anniversary of the grim death of the lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. Hired by the London based investment firm Hermitage Capital Management to handle their Russian affairs, he alleged that £150m in tax paid by the company had been stolen, and named names. Rather than investigate, the police arrested Magnitsky, and he was convicted of tax evasion. He was not sentenced though, because he was dead before the trial began. He had died in the tender care of the Russian police, aged 37.
Bill Browder, head of Hermitage, will preside over a meeting in Magnitsky’s memory in the Commons tonight. Participants will include two members of the punk protest group Pussy Riot.