I've been in Bradford all morning so I have just caught up with the Sir Nicholas Winterton row. My colleague at Total Politics, Amber Elliott, has written a brilliant feature for next month's issue, in which she has interviewed about a dozen MPs who are retiring at the next election. Among those she talked to was Sir Nicholas. I must admit, when I read his words during the proofing process I slightly gasped. This is what he actually said...
And now they want to stop members of Parliament travelling first class. That puts us below local councillors and officers of local government. They all travel first class. Majors in the army travel first class. So we are supposed to stand when there are no seats. And why are we going to waste our time when we can work on the train as we do. I’m sorry. It infuriates me.
I shall remind Amber about what she said to me on Tuesday: "I'm not sure there's very many newsworthy stories in this issue. Famous last words.
This might have remained a diary story at best if Sir Nicholas hadn't had the bad judgement to go up against my friend Stephen Nolan on 5 Live this morning. I have only heard clips so far, but it really is a car crash interview, and hugely damaging. Click HERE and scroll down the page to listen to a four minute excerpt. The curious things
In the full interview Sir Nicholas says something that in my view is far more entertaining...
Once when I was on a visit overseas – it was a particular place on the edge of the Caribbean – somebody mixed me a Mickey Finn. I was sure that one of my legs was longer than the other. Particularly when you are walking on a surface that isn’t entirely even. I won’t go into detail because that will certainly be picked up by the press – ‘Members on a debauchery holiday.’Sadly for Sir Nicholas, it was the other story which was picked up by the press.
More evidence of Total Politics' Tory bias. Haha.