December 11, 2005


Bubbly for Blair heir - but will it all go flat? (BRIAN BRADY, 12/11/05, The Scotsman)

ON WEDNESDAY evening, just a day after being elected leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron faced his first meeting of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs in Committee Room 12 of the House of Commons. After weeks of campaigning he was weary, but in ebullient mood.

"I don't know about you," the old Etonian told the gathering of senior backbenchers, "but I've had a very tough week. Who's coming downstairs for a drink?" [...]

As the champagne flowed in the Smoking Room, the Labour chief whip, Hilary Armstrong, walked in and was greeted noisily by the Tory MPs who had watched their new leader taunt her humiliatingly at Prime Minister's Question: "That's the problem with these exchanges - the chief whip on the Labour side shouting like a child. Is she finished? Are you finished?"

If speculation at Westminster is to be believed the answer might well be: yes Armstrong is finished, as Blair considers replacing his chief whip.

A peace offering from the Tory MPs gathered with Cameron in the shape of a glass of champagne was turned down by Armstrong, another small indication that Labour MPs are grumpy and unsure exactly how to react to the hype around the new leader of the opposition.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 11, 2005 8:04 AM
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