Westminster is something of a ghost town this week as MPs, staffers and wonks all fan out across the country to pound the doorsteps ahead of polling day. With Parliament prorogued and the airwaves dominated by talk of the Red Wall, there is precious little to amuse those poor souls still remaining in SW1 ahead of the release of the first exit polls at 10 o'clock on Thursday.
That is until today when a cavalcade of coaches came to town and parked up opposite St James's Park tube station. For Mr S understands that on board was none other than the highly paid stars of Real Madrid. Los Blancos have arrived ahead of their Champions League semi-final fixture tomorrow night with Chelsea FC which kicks off at 8 o'clock.
Where better to stay for such an auspicious occasion than the august surroundings of the five star Conrad London St. James hotel, best known for its Blue Boar restaurant patronised by those hacks with more generous expense accounts. While Real will be hoping tomorrow to stay in Europe, such sentiments haven't always been shared by guests at the Hilton – its rooms used to regularly play host to UKIP's press conferences during the party's 2014 heyday.
Unsurprisingly in these Covid secure times, the team arrived to little fanfare with a number of somewhat redundant barriers erected around the entrance alongside a quintet of burly security guards. Steerpike hopes Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema et al get the chance to sample Strutton Ground's delights before they leave – though suspects a pint or two at the Barley Mow might be out of the question for the Galacticos superstars.