Captain Moonlight: Inside No 10: compact and bijou

Click to follow
The Independent Online
TOO MANY journalists allow themselves to be distracted from the substance of a story by colourful side-issues. Not the Captain: I keep my eye fixed firmly on the ball. Take the row between John Patten and Mo Mowlam over his revelation that Tony Blair is very worried about fitting his family into 10 Downing Street.

All the huff and puff took place over the private nature of the Patten-Mowlam conversation. No one saw fit to address the central question: just how big, in fact, is the Prime Minister's flat? Today I remedy this by publishing a floor plan.

Ample accommodation there, I hear you say. Look at all those bedrooms. This floor plan, though, dates from 1931, the last time one was made public. Ramsay MacDonald and family were then in situ. The second floor was used principally by the servants. The prime ministerial apartments were on the first floor. Mrs Chamberlain decided they were too grand, and moved upstairs.

The front half has been lost to offices; the back portion is all that remains for the prime minister and family. Two bedrooms were knocked together to make a sitting room; there are only three left. All is small, and low. Tony, with three children, is right to be worried.

But the Captain has a solution. Number 11 is much bigger. Gordon Brown, who will obviously be Chancellor, is notably single. Tony should knock through. And I have just the chap: done a lot of work for me, extremely reasonable; Tommy, a smiling son of Erin. But I should warn you, Tone, that he is scrupulous about VAT.

(Graphic omitted)