ANDREW PIERCE: The perfect gift for a long-suffering wife of a Tory grandee… a medal!
Long-suffering partners of politicians are the first to say there is little glamour in Westminster.
Lizzie Howarth, whose husband Sir Gerald was a Tory MP for 30 years and counted Margaret Thatcher among his closest friends, is a case in point.
She has endured a lifetime of dull dinners on the rubber chicken circuit and countless evenings on her own because of late-night votes.
At their golden wedding anniversary party at the RAF Club in Piccadilly, central London, Sir Gerald, who is a trained pilot, told the assembled throng: ‘I asked my friends what should I buy Lizzie? They all said the same: “She deserves a medal.” ‘
So Howarth, who was first elected as an MP in 1983, commissioned a medal from Jonathan Lambert, a bespoke jeweller in Lavenham, Suffolk, where the couple live.
Lizzie Howarth, whose husband Sir Gerald was a Tory MP for 30 years and counted Margaret Thatcher among his closest friends, is a case in point
At their golden wedding anniversary party at the RAF Club in Piccadilly, central London, Sir Gerald, who is a trained pilot, told the assembled throng: ‘I asked my friends what should I buy Lizzie? They all said the same: “She deserves a medal”.’ So Howarth, who was first elected as an MP in 1983, commissioned a medal from Jonathan Lambert, a bespoke jeweller in Lavenham, Suffolk, where the couple live
Lambert, whose family firm has been working for Buckingham Palace since the reign of Queen Victoria, designed a medal with a swan on it, a symbol of devotion that also signifies the fact the couple were both brought up near the River Thames.
‘A medal is the very least Lizzie deserves for putting up with me for half a century,’ said Sir Gerald. You can say that again.
A sign of Tory General Election tactics? The party HQ is selling red Keir Starmer flip-flops at £16.99.
‘In three years of rudderless leadership, Keir Starmer has had more flip-flops than Bondi Beach and more launches than Nasa,’ goes the blurb. ‘Put your foot down in the most stylish political flip-flops Britain has to offer.’
Ruby was a gem
He’s on his seventh guide dog but former Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett has fond recollections of Ruby, his first.
‘She could move past a trolley and take a sandwich without even pausing,’ he remembers.
Last week was the centenary of the election of Stanley Baldwin, the last prime minister educated at Cambridge University.
There have been 13 from Oxford in 100 years, including Labour’s Harold Wilson and Tony Blair and the Tories’ David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak.
If Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer wins the next Election, he will be Oxford’s 14th.
A new bus pass in Bristol gives people free travel in their birthday month. Labour West of England mayor Dan Norris thinks the £8 million scheme is popular.
The city’s potholed roads are the ‘worst in England’. How much allocated to fix them? Just £2.5 million.
The Duke of Norfolk, who organised the Coronation, was mingling with showbusiness royalty, including Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Bob Geldof, and John Bishop, at Saturday’s anniversary party of the Abba Voyage avatar show.
The Duke, 66, in achingly cool trainers, is a friend of Viscount Hambleden, partner of Abba’s Anni-Frid Lyngstad, who were both there.
Veteran Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge has an honourable record of opposing racial discrimination but has been silent about the Theatre Royal Stratford East’s divisive ‘all black audience’ performance.
Why so quiet, Margaret? Is it because you chair the Theatre Royal board?
Cracknell’s crack at Boris
Double Olympic gold rower James Cracknell is determined to stick his oar in if Boris Johnson tries to regain his old Henley constituency.
Cracknell is hoping to be the Tory candidate now that MP John Howell has announced he is standing down.
The ex-rower says he will challenge Boris to a race if he tries to switch seats from Uxbridge and South Ruislip.
‘We will run down the towpath. First one who gets back to the town can have the seat,’ he says.
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