Matthew Norman on Monday: Where’s Sally and her *innocent face* when you need them?

Plus: Hold your twitters for the sensation of the century


Theresa May and Dappy out of N-Dubz?

Dr Liam Fox and the Dagenham Girl Pipers? Eric Pickles and a portion of boiled spinach? While we may confidently rule out the above, the identities of those involved in the “sensational love affair” that has, according to the Mail on Sunday splash, shocked the PM, remain far beyond guesswork. All we know is that the participants are “middle aged”, which rules out the spinach, the pipers, Dappy, Lord Carrington and others, without dramatically narrowing the field; that it has “potentially significant political implications” for a “stunned” David Cameron; and that no detail whatsoever may be disclosed. In a barely remembered age – possibly as long ago, according to palaeontologists, as May – the craving for information would have been sated by the magic of Twitter. Alas, a visit to the site yesterday unearthed nothing more than a few outlandish fantasies along the lines suggested above. How we yearn for that age of innocence, and rue its passing. Sally Bercow, below, I hope you’re feeling proud of yourself today. And no, it isn’t the willowy Sal and the dwarfine Speaker of the House, so far as we believe, or any coupling quite as unconscionable as that.

The Lord who’s kept under House arrest

The latest lobbying scandal unearthed a legislative superstar yesterday, when ennobled ex-copper Brian Mackenzie told Radio 5 Live why he was prepared to sidestep parliamentary rules by having a fellow peer host a reception for a cod South Korean energy firm on his behalf. Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate (yup, it’s Framwellgategate) pointed out that he will organise Westminster functions for commercial chums “because people like me are tied to the House of Lords in case there’s a vote”. There you were  assuming it was all about the seductive whiff of power and the heavy hint of ministerial access. But no. Peers are “confined to the premises” awaiting the division bell, and can’t nip away for fear of missing a crucial vote. A miserable £300 daily expense to endure this pernicious form of House arrest? Now that’s the scandal.

A powerful advocate for solar energy

As for the similarly exposed Jack Cunningham, his altruism in seemingly offering his services to fake solar panel manufacturers from Seoul for a paltry £12,000 per month does him credit. The former Blairite minister has always been best known for his advocacy on behalf of the nuclear industry (Sellafield is in his old constituency). That septuagenarian Jack, whose father Andy did time for his part in the Poulson corruption scandal in the 1970s, could embrace a rival power source scotches not one but two old verities. Sometimes, the apple does fall far from the tree. And, if only in an energy context, an old dog can learn new tricks.

A new chapter for Louise Mensch

No one is more distressed by the Patrick Mercer story than Louise Mensch. “The news,” she  tells Sun on Sunday readers, “will cause dismay to Conservatives around the UK.” Or, in her case, in New York, whence she writes with some authority. As a stalwart of the Media Select Committee, Louise defended the Family Murdoch with spirit and eloquence, though of course no money changed hands. That came later when she was handed a lucrative column in the sabbath Currant Bun.

The bets are on for a new Time Lord

The opening show of betting on Matt Smith’s successor as Doctor Who is in. Rory Kinnear is the 100-30 favourite, with the late Margaret Rutherford on 11-2. Shortening to 7-1, after money from a solar panel syndicate in Seoul, is South Korean YouTube sensation Psy, pictured, while bracketed on 12s are Dan Stevens, David Harewood and earthly time lord Stephen Hawking. Helen Mirren is a skinny-looking 16-1, with Miranda Hart and Donald Sinden on 33s, though the value of the field looks like Hugh Laurie at 40-1. If the old Etonian does get the part, show supremo Steven Moffat is thought certain to hire old Harrovian Benedict Cumberbatch as The Master, and transpose the Eton vs Harrow cricket match from Lord’s to the heart of the Time War.

Tony’s view of  why we’re wary

In a devilishly sophisticated article examining Muslim extremism and its causes, Mr Tony Blair points out, of Syria, that “the long and hard conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have made us wary of any interventions abroad”. Indeed so, Mr T. And as Emo Philips asked of a German girlfriend bemoaning the dearth of decent bagels in Berlin, whose fault is that?

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