While some of his colleagues were dabbing tears from their eyes or pacing their Portcullis House offices in fury after being dumped by David Cameron in the reshuffle, Michael Fabricant seemed rather excited about his new-found freedom. The former whip tweeted on the day he resigned as a government whip that he was ‘ecstatic. Been kissed by 3 women (&1 man) MP’. He has since considered dressing up as Andrew Mitchell at a ‘highlights of 2012’ party, and gone in search of a pair of ‘toffs and plebs’ cufflinks in honour of the chief whip.
So it was no surprise that today Fabricant decided to launch a smart little jibe at the new and beleaguered chief whip, who only a couple of hours earlier had been defended by ministerial colleagues (although Theresa May and Damian Green both failed to praise Andrew Mitchell at Home Office questions today). Asking a question during the West Coast Mainline statement in the Commons, he told Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin:
‘Can you, who I might say is sorely missed as chief whip, give an assurance to my constituents in Lichfield that services will not be damaged by these changes and more to the point that stations like Lichfield Trent Valley, which are badly in need of improvements for disabled access, will not find that any new works are delayed as a consequence?’
MPs loved this, and bellowed with laughter. Let’s hope Fabricant doesn’t plan to rebel on any votes over the next few months…