The opposing sides of the House of Commons face each other across a strip of carpet two rapier lengths wide. When you stand at the dispatch box, you realise it looks a lot bigger on the telly.
There was a time when MPs had a full dressing-up box to reflect their personality: periwigs, jodhpurs, top hats . Bernie Grant once attended the State Opening in full African drag (Betty Boothroyd sent him down a note: ‘You look splendid,’ it said, and he did). So spare a thought for Environment Secretary Owen Patterson who stepped out of his ministerial car, dressed in regulation MP’s uniform, and found himself in a town called trouble. Continue reading →