Brussels wants our Tony, too

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It began in the parliamentary Labour Party - hereinafter known as Blair's Docile Fusiliers. And now the same siren voices can be heard among the EuroBrothers and EuroSisters: can't we have a leader more like the Prime Minister?

In next week's election for the leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party, the knives are out for incumbent Wayne David, moustachioed, balding former speech-writer for Neil Kinnock and MEP for South Wales Central. He has had the job for only three years, but evidently he's got to go because he's too boring. And he's too Welsh.

So say supporters of Alan Donnelly, the square-jawed, clean-shaven and younger MEP for Tyne and Wear, who also bears a more than passing resemblance to another, better known, Geordie - footballer Paul Gascoigne. Donnelly is known in his union, the GMB, as "the bag carrier's bag carrier".

He carried the bags of Nick Brown, now the Chief Whip, who carried the bags of Labour's Treasurer Tom Burlison. Alright, you've never heard of him, but you must admit he has a classy line in baggage handling. Both candidates claim they have Blair's backing, but if you have a few spare euros, put them on the Gazza lookalike.

WILL they never learn? Jacques Arnold, the insufferable ex-Tory MP educated in Brazil (where the nuts come from) despatched into the political wilderness a month ago today, is working for the Conservative leadership campaign of the Vulcan, John Redwood. "If he had been leader, we wouldn't be in this mess," he confided to a media man last week. Absolutely right. It would have been much worse.

PADDY Ashdown's right-hand man, Alan Leaman, quit last week, citing a desire to spend more time with his lovely girlfriend Alison Holmes (from thigh-slapping Oklahoma), the Liberal Democrats' general election planning manager. The real reason for his going, however, is that "Pantsdown" has appointed Nick Harvey MP (Devon North, Mad Cow Tendency) as his strategy and communications chief, making Leaman politically redundant. Harvey, a former PR man and the Lib-Dems' sole Eurosceptic, apparently "caught Paddy's eye" according to insiders.

This is implausible, since Nick has lost around five stones in the last year. Friends say the weight loss has made him behave like a gerbil on speed.

Creevey's tears are being reserved for the likely departure of Judith Fryer, the skilful Lib-Dem PR much admired in the parliamentary lobby. She is weighing up "lucrative" offers in the media world.

OH DEAR. Not everyone in the new intake of Labour MPs has delighted staff at the Palace of Westminster. The name of one lady member is being bandied about as candidate for the "Don't You Know Who I am?" Trophy: Clare Curtis-Tansley, the victor in Crosby, Merseyside.

Can this really be true? After all, Ms Hyphen-Hyphen did the great public service of sending Sir Malcolm Thornton, an ocean-going Tory wet, into political oblivion. And it's not every Labour girl who has two barrels to her name, even if the rumours are true that she wants to get rid of one of them.

WHY does Tom Sawyer style himself after the hero of Mark Twain's classic story?

When the Labour Party general secretary applied for a Commons pass under his nom du vanite, the security people rejected him on the grounds that no such person existed. Old Tom had to admit that his real name is Lawrence. The word is that Larry Two (he displaced another Larry, now Lord Whitty of Camberwell) will go not long after the Brighton party conference in October. Once he has driven through Party Into Power - a policy charter that reduces members to the status of background applause.

Presumably, Millbank will be looking for a Lawrence Finn, to keep up the great American literary tradition. Just don't bother applying if your name is Becky Thatcher.

ROLL the dice for parliamentary snakes and ladders. This week, a story to warm the cockles of your heart. Virtue has been rewarded. Creevey's pal Alice Mahon, MP for Halifax, has been appointed parliamentary private secretary to Chris Smith, the Heritage Secretary. She breathed a huge sigh of relief at not being appointed at health - she was once a nursing auxiliary and hates being typecast. Another cheer for the similar appointment of Jean Corston, MP for Bristol East, as PPS to Education Secretary David Blunkett. She is the only MP with the nerve to list "knitting" as one of her personal interests.

Their appointment is one in the eye for Labour's new girls: Alice is 60 this year, while Jean is 55. None of the 20-somethings have got a sniff of power. Creevey understands this is a Downing Street ruling. The new kids on the block will have to wait.

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