Buy now and you're the mug

Labour is already celebrating a win on 1 May. Through the letter box to the party faithful comes a special election issue of New Labour New Britain, offering all manner of general election souvenirs - a bit like buying your rock before setting off for the seaside. Creevey was particularly taken with the red rose silk tie, which also comes in blue for the Alan Howarthites, though in downmarket polyester.

Fancy a red baseball cap emblazoned "Labour Win 97"? Don't they know that anyone daft enough to buy one will only wear it back to front, so hiding the message? A red mug with the same slogan is pounds 3.99. The election manifesto, when it appears, will be a snip at pounds 1.99.

Also on offer are cut-out'n'throw away "pledge cards" (whatever they are) featuring, of course, Tony Blair. Not the smiling one. This is a grim-faced, baggy-eyed Blair with what looks like nappy rash on his top lip. In fact, what you'd expect him to look like after a harrowing term of office. Perhaps it's deliberate, to get us used to the shape of things to come.

Ann Widdecombe, the Prisons Minister, is usually so level-headed that it jars when she dabbles in politically correct-speak. But on Radio 4 she described the prison hulk HMP Weare, lying off Portland harbour, as "a floating detention facility".

Oh yeah? And a plane is a flying passenger facility, no doubt. The rest of her remarks were drowned by the noise of aeronautical porcine quadrupeds flying in tight formation.

To the Irish Embassy to celebrate St Patrick's Day. Waiting in line to be presented to ambassador Ted Harrington, Creevey noticed Jerry Hayes, vivacious MP for Harlow, with an attractive lady on his elbow. The effect was slightly spoiled by Jezza anxiously whispering to her: "What's your surname?" Of course, it was Sami Qureshi, his researcher.

It was like being in the River Squiffy, the Guinness flowed so well. Tim Yeo (Extremely-Well-Behaved-These-Days Party, Suffolk South) was mildly exhilarated by some boundary changes in his constituency. It seems they have removed his chief tormentor, one of those formidable Tory women, into neighbouring Bury St Edmunds. Yeo, the first victim of John Major's back-to-basics policy over a slight case of adultery, breathed a sigh of relief. The lady's new MP is Richard Spring, he of the three-in-a-bed notoriety. OK everybody, back under the covers!

All this, and gongs too. The Dissolution Honours List will be out shortly and Westminster is speculating about who'll get what. Creevey's old pal Sir Harold Walker MP, the diminutive former Deputy Speaker, who has bequeathed his Doncaster seat to John Prescott's former assistant Rosie Winterton (who likes being called "the Barbara Windsor of the Commons") will surely get his peerage. Ermine too for Northern Ireland Secretary Sir Patrick Mayhew, for whom John Major was once PPS. Lord Douglas Hurd looks a good bet. Put a few bob on Trevor Macdonald, the ITN newsreader, who gave the Prime Minister such an easy ride. Sir Trevor would be very popular. Don't put anything on Sir John Carlisle, though. An interesting question is what might become of self-knighting Charles Lewington, the Sunday Express poacher turned gamekeeper who took over as media boss at Tory Central Office. Unkind folk say he will become Lord Lewington of Smarmby-super-Mare. Some say Viscount Tanfastic, a reference to his permo- tan. Outrageous talk.

Lorna Fitzsimmons, the twenty-something Labour candidate at Rochdale, boasts that she owes her life to the NHS because her mum had open-heart surgery two years after it was founded. That would be about 1950. The Lib Dems, desperate to cling on to the seat, are on the blower to point out that open-heart surgery wasn't invented until the 1970s. We'll just let them squabble.

Phillip Oppenheim MP objects to the notion in a previous diary that his employees had once complained that he sold Mars Bars to people at a mark up.

Oppenheim says this never happened and the diary is happy to accept this denial. Not that Oppers is always so easy to understand. While he was telling us this in Westminster's Stranger's Bar the other day, our Phil went on to hint that he had done lots of other things with Mars Bars. But anyway, what's the point of being a Tory if you can't buy cheap and sell dear?

Goodbye corner, the service to readers that tells you about the Tories who are leaving Parliament (involuntarily). This week we bid so long to Sir Graham Bright, the 54-year-old golfing, gardening member for Luton South, who was for several years John Major's Parliamentary Private Secretary, or dogsbody.

Sir Gazza is the curly-haired, bespectacled, red-faced man you saw on the first day of the phoney war, ready to catch the Prime Minister if he fell off his soapbox. You may have missed him because Notso Bright is usually perspiring freely, his face hidden behind a large handkerchief.

Margaret Moran, 41, former leader of Lewisham Council and director of Housing for Women, will take his seat with a swing of just over half a per cent. Byee, Brightee!

And it's goodbye for now from Creevey, too. Your diarist is off on the road with the election campaign. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.