This invitation was sent last night from the Whips office to all Tory staffers:
You are cordially invited to attend the
Conservative Parliamentary Staff New Year Party
Thursday 14th February 2013
6pm – midnight
It seems they don’t have much faith in young Tories having dates tomorrow night then.
Guido is preparing to relive his more youthful days as Fat Boy Slim is playing in Parliament on 6 March, thanks to the Last Night A DJ Saved My Life Foundation. Norman Cook is excited too: “I’ve played some exciting and unique places around the world from Bondi Beach to The Great Wall of China to an Igloo but playing in the House of Commons might be the most unique to date.” See you at the “House The House” event. Sorted.
Slumped in an alleyway outside a bar: this was Sally Bercow in the early hours of Friday morning. The Speaker’s wife had spent a boozy evening with young male Tory researchers, kicking off at the Sports and Social in Parliament before heading to Players’, a regular piano dive for twenty-something staffers. Alastair Whitby, who works for a Conservative MP, tweeted: “Pleased to see @SallyBercow was out and on form last night at Players Bar”, while another Tory researcher told how he was “Yoloing [You only live once] on the dancefloor with Sally Bercow”. No doubt it went down well with John…
Guido was sad to miss two-faced Chuka Umunna dining in a pub popular with the Guy Newsroom team last night. Judging by his choice of meal, the Shadow Business Secretary was putting on his man of the people act, though a co-conspiratorial vintner whispers that the mask slipped and Chuka awkwardly came a cropper with his cutlery:
“He had a burger and a pint of s**t lager. Dropped his knife and waited for someone to pick it up for him. Nobody did of course.”
He does think he’s a cut above the rest, after all…
Guido is off to the Westminster Arms for our Christmas drinks. Join fellow readers, co-conspirators, Westminster wonks, movers and shakers, and seasoned drunks as we toast the end of another year of plots, rumours and conspiracy. Come down…
Say what you like about William Hague, the man certainly knows how to play host. Guido has got hold of the list of wines he has served to visiting kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers over the last year. No expense has been spared, out of our pocket naturally.
The Foreign Secretary’s fine choice of the “flamboyantly scented” Château Cheval Blanc 1985 will have impressed guests, at least it should have at £400-a-bottle. Those looking for something a little more subtle could go for the Château Léoville-Lascases 1989, a snip at just £139. A classic Bordeaux is also on offer, the £142-a-bottle Château Cos d’Estournel 1986 will have been enjoyed by visitors from across the Channel. Let it never be said that Hague lets his guests go away unsatisfied, a glass or two of the £87-a-bottle Warre 1977 is how our host likes to end his soirées. And if he’s sufficiently lubricated, he might even let you see his snake…
If you fancy coming along then make sure you’ve subscribed to the Guidogram for details of the SW1 location nearer the time. Save the date…
After the September reshuffle sacked former ministers got together to form a drinking/dining club, loosely named the Geronimo Club due to the fact they shared the date of their demise with the old chieftain. Guido hears that the name has gone out of the window, but the grouping is going strong, indeed apparently tonight will see their inaugural knees up.
It’s an interesting choice of location: the official residence of the Chief Whip – 9 Downing Street. Sir George Young was an original member of the group and despite being called back to government, Gentleman George is still laying on the drinks. And as revealed in yesterday’s Daily Star Sunday, Caroline Spelman is bringing the canapés…
Tempers are fraying in the run up to tonight’s vote. Guido hears that Cameron was at a drinks gathering for northern Tory MPs. Andrew Bingham was there and got the full Flashman treatment as a consequence of having signed the Reckless amendment. The Prime Minister is reported to have lambasted the Member for High Peak saying:
“What do you think you are doing? This isn’t some f**king sixth-form debating society.”
Temper, temper Dave…
UPDATE: Apologies to Andrew Bridgen whom we originally misreported getting the ear full.
UPDATE II: Bingham denies the story his colleagues report, yet the Prime Minister’s official spokesman was very mealy mouthed.
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Questioned by police about one of the sex offences allegations he faces, Nigel Evans told them:
“I misread the signals.”