The Daily Telegraph


- Drown In Edited by Christophe­r Hope peterborou­

A new Parish?

Parp, parp! Neil Parish, the former Conservati­ve MP who quit after looking at pornograph­y when he was searching for farm machinery, is plotting his way back to Westminste­r. The former MP for Tiverton and Honiton (below) is taking soundings about fighting the new seat of Tiverton and Minehead at the next election (his old seat is disappeari­ng in a boundary shake-up).

He tells me he has discussed the plans with Government chief whip Simon Hart and is seeking a meeting with party chairman Nadhim Zahawi. “I am looking at all my options,” he says. Parish might succeed. He is well liked by local Tories. As it is the new year, can’t he be given a second chance?

Mickie knew best for Beck

Jeff Beck, who died this week, was a rock guitar legend but he was best known for his jolly hit Hi Ho Silver Lining, which entered the UK charts three times in 1967, 1972 and 1982. He reluctantl­y recorded the song, aged 20, when he really wanted to “do a style of guitar like the Chicago blues”.

His producer Mickie Most was having none of it, according to Beck. “He said ‘You wanna smash hit, listen to me. If you wanna go on playing in clubs and not making any money, you carry on’,” Beck later said. He put its success down “to a DJ who thought of turning it off when the chorus came. It’s the ultimate disco party record”, Beck said, adding: “People in the States and Japan have never heard of it, so I’m safe there.”

Irony bypass of the week award

Professor Sir Chris Whitty is to receive the freedom of the City of London, I can disclose, after a private meeting of the City’s Court of Common Council on Thursday. Given how Whitty’s advice was used to justify large-scale Covid lockdowns by our elected leaders, I am sure that the owners of shuttered shops and still-closed restaurant­s in the City will be delighted.

Julian Lewis’s hot wheels

Vroom, vroom! Westminste­r’s new Knight of the Road is Sir Julian Lewis, the Conservati­ve MP who was given his K in the New Year Honours. He has been spotted revving around Westminste­r on his classic BMW 750cc motorcycle which he bought in 1990 when he worked at the Conservati­ve Research Department in Smith Square. Lewis (right, with Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker) graduated from a 50cc Honda scooter when he was at university and once worked as a despatch rider.

He told the House magazine two decades ago that he had no qualms about driving a German motorbike despite his Euroscepti­c credential­s. “I’ve always believed the best way to keep Germany healthily democratic is to keep her prosperous. (I also like the idea of Hitler roasting down below, as I ride around on a BMW pursuing my

political objectives!)” he said.

Clinton’s rose

Sam Brown – the singer/songwriter behind the classic hit Stop! – had her career cut short in 2007 when she lost her singing voice after touring extensivel­y. The wonders of modern technology mean she is about to release a new album, with her voice autotuned, on Jan 20.

Stop! was among a string of internatio­nal hits Brown (left) had between 1988 and 1990, when she worked with legends like Pink Floyd, George Harrison, Elton John, and Dionne Warwick. She even performed at the 1998 G8 summit in Birmingham for Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. “It was around the time of the Monica Lewinsky scandal,” she tells me.

“I sang the a--- off the song

My Own Tears and did a good job of it.

When I met Clinton afterwards, he said ‘I really love that song’ and he gave me a yellow rose which he probably just nicked out of a flower arrangemen­t. I really had the p--- taken out of me by the band for quite some weeks afterwards.”

Mayfair MP’S second job

Tory MP Nickie Aiken spent time on the tills of her local shop during the festive break last month. Considerin­g she represents the Cities of London and Westminste­r, this meant it was Mayfair retailer Fortnum & Mason. “It took me back to my days temping at Boots and Debenhams over Christmas,” she tells me, after she packed and wrapped for Fortnum’s customers. Apparently the average spend by customers was just £12.95 and most people bought tins of biscuits. “I will go back next year,” she adds enthusiast­ically. So long as Labour in power hasn’t banned MPS’ second jobs, of course.

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