Village People: The mark of a good autobiographer

Related Topics

Lord Mandelson has promised that his forthcoming memoirs will "ruffle some feathers". He ought to have a good story to tell because he has been around for so long and has held so many important political jobs, but let us hope he remembers that the best anecdotes are those that mark someone's character strongly.

Like the story Lord Trimble tells about when he was Northern Ireland's First Secretary, paying a call on Lord Mandelson, the Northern Ireland Secretary, at his official residence, Hillsborough Castle. Their conversation did not go well. In fact, Peter M became so exasperated that he stood up behind his desk, drew himself up to his full height, and told Trimble: "Get out of my house!"

Aspiring Lib Dem deputy adopts unpopular stance

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, who is currently running against Simon Hughes to be deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, deserves credit for putting principles before electoral convenience. He represents one of the most rural seats in the country, where beef farming is a major contributor to the local economy. Mr Farron is a vegetarian.

Paisley Jnr takes place in political home from home

"I can be forgiven for coming to this place to spend a little bit more time with my family," said the newly elected MP for North Antrim, Ian Paisley junior. It was a jokey reference to the announcement of a peerage for his father, Ian senior. But Parliament must be home from home for the Paisley family. Two years ago, when MPs were hit by allegations of family nepotism in Parliament, there were five Paisleys based in the Village. Dad was an MP, Mum was Baroness Paisley, and the children Ian junior, Cherith and Rhonda all had paid jobs in Dad's Commons office.

Recent arrival in the House outstays her welcome

Luciana Berger, a bright, ambitious southerner who found her way up the M6 to become Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, attracted some ridicule earlier in the year when the Liverpool Echo discovered that she had not heard of Bill Shankly and did not know who recorded "Ferry Cross the Mersey". Her maiden speech to Parliament this week was a valiant effort to make amends. She name-checked just about everybody from history with any link to that part of Liverpool, from John Lennon to Bessie Braddock. But she either had not heard or had forgotten the rule that maiden speeches should be brief. Ms Berger was in the middle of telling her fellow MPs about her famous great uncle, Manny Shinwell, when the Deputy Speaker politely but firmly instructed her that time was up. A lot of new MPs have now made their maiden speeches, but so far only one has suffered the indignity of being told to shut up.

The dilemma that dogs MPs' maiden speeches

Gavin Shuker, another twenty-something new MP, also caught it last week over his maiden speech, though he followed the unwritten rules meticulously. It is laid down that new MPs must pay tribute to their predecessors, no matter what their records may have been.

Shuker delivered a few factual remarks about the woman he has replaced as MP for Luton South, without really praising her at all, and yet, according to his local radio station, Three Counties Radio, it was enough to set off outraged calls from listeners. The woman in question was Margaret Moran, whose career was brought to a shuddering halt by the expenses scandal. This creates a dilemma for every other new MP who has replaced someone forced out by the expenses furore, some of whom are accused of worse abuses than Ms Moran.

Tory sartorial pledges – can we believe them?

Mike Weatherley, Tory MP for Hove, made a speech that was "maiden" in more senses than one, including as it did a promise to be the first MP to wear an Iron Maiden T-shirt in the Commons. It is to be hoped that he proves more of a man of his word than the Tory blogger Iain Dale, who pledged on election night that if the exit poll predicting a hung Parliament proved to be right, he would run naked down Whitehall. The poll was spot on. Mr Dale's clothes have been on, too. You just can't trust a Tory.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Directory, ITIL, Reuter)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...

Day In a Page

Read Next

i Editor's Letter: The final instalment of our WW1 series

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff

Simon Usborne: The more you watch pro cycling, the more you understand its social complexity

Simon Usborne
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice