THIS week, the award for best statement given by an MP to a national newspaper enquiry has to go to Stephen Phillips, the Hampstead Conservative who once lost a council by-election in Camden to Lib Dem councillor Linda Chung only to find himself representing Sleaford and North Hykeham at the House of Commons just a little while later.
Accused, if that’s the right word, of ‘hopping’ across the members lobby room at Westminster after a late sitting on Tuesday – yup, these are the big stories requiring investigation by the nation’s finest journalists this weekend – he told the Mail on Sunday: I didn’t hop, I skipped. For no more than two seconds.
His statement printed by the newspaper today:
I had dinner with another MP and his brother. I drank no more than two glasses of red wine. I spent much of the remainder of the evening in my room answering correspondence. I was in the Smoking Room briefly after a vote where I drank sparkling water; I did buy those with me a round of drinks.
There was an occasion in the early morning when I briefly skipped across the Members’ Lobby with one other member (no more than two seconds). We did so in a moment of light-hearted camaraderie because we were in high spirits given the AV polls and had just made a joke which I am not prepared to share with you. I was not under the influence of alcohol in any adverse sense at any stage.
Make your own mind up whether you think a national newspaper should devote a whole page as to whether Mr Phillips hopped or skipped, and whether anybody should care… but admit it, you’d love to know what the joke he’s not prepared to share was.