Danny's dad is off message



02:12 GMT, 9 December 2012

Ed Ball's spectacular failure to lay a glove on George Osborne during their Autumn Statement shoot-out was watched from the Commons public gallery by one Di Alexander – proud father of Liberal Democrat Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander.

As the Shadow Chancellor floundered, Alexander Snr reached for his mobile phone and texted his ginger-haired son as follows: ‘God, the Opposition are weak. You should be getting a much harder ride.’

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Coalition’s financial management, was it

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls was criticised by Di Alexander for his performance in the Commons

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls was criticised by Di Alexander for his performance in the Commons

All those intimate, cringe-making text messages between David Cameron and Rebekah Brooks have cost more than just extreme embarrassment for the Prime Minister.

he Cabinet Office has now confessed that the PM’s office racks up a whopping 8,000-a-month mobile phone bill with service provider Vodafone – the very company that had much of its 6 billion tax bill generously written off by the Government.

‘LOL’, as hard-pressed taxpayers are certainly not going to say.

It's a REAL jungle out there for Claire

Move over Nadine Dorries – you’re not the only Tory politician who can rough it in the jungle. Larger-than-life MP Claire Perry is about to trump her I’m A Celebrity Commons colleague by spending a week next month experiencing life in a remote West African village, twinned with a town in her Devizes constituency, but which has no running water or electricity.

Claire’s even taking her teenage daughter with her on the daunting trip. So eat your heart out, Nad .  .  . or should that be baked spider

Claire Perry will be spending a week in a remote West African village

Claire Perry will be spending a week in a remote West African village

Big softie Tory MP Bernard Jenkin, Cabinet Minister’s son and ex-Corpus Christi Cambridge choral scholar, broke down in tears recently.

He cried after being told victory had been achieved in a ten-year crusade to win 8 million to rebuild rickety Market Field School for special needs children in his Essex constituency.

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Hard-nut head teacher Gary Smith, docker’s son and ex-East Ham Grammar, handed him the Kleenex and said: ‘Bleedin’ ’ell Bernie, I was only going to blub if we ’adn’t got the dosh.’

Tsar for nothing

Tory Ministers are suspicious about Les Ebdon, the ‘fair access Tsar’ who has just started his 45,000-a-year, two-days-a-week job trying to persuade elite universities to wedge their doors open to let in a wider range of students.

Ebdon’s new job came with the offer of an office in Whitehall but he has chosen to ‘work from home’ in Hertfordshire.

‘It’s annoying,’ muttered a senior figure in the Education Department.

‘We wanted him right under our noses where we could keep an eye on him.’

It is not just stylish footwear that gets Theresa May reaching for her Platinum Amex.

The Home Secretary is also fond of stylish neckwear, especially if the gift-giver is a good-looking Frenchman.

Mrs May has forked out 235 so she can keep a designer scarf given to her as an official present by her French opposite number, Manuel Valls.

Dog reckons with competition like this, Mrs May’s husband Philip – who normally buys her scarves – must up his game.