Mike Penning’s fat fingers blunder

Mike Penning's fat fingers blunder
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There's a fevered atmosphere within Parliament at present as MPs gather to debate Boris Johnson's future. The triennial game of 'pass the crown' is on again as revelations continue to emerge about what went on at Fabric No. 10 throughout the pandemic. Rumours abound as to whether Tory whips have posted sentries to watch Sir Graham Brady's office for any MPs submitting letters to call for a vote of confidence, with some handing them to braver colleagues to hand them in. Fortunately for nervy backbenchers, the 1922 committee rules were recently changed to allow letters to be sent via email.

With tensions running high, any sign of MPs breaking ranks could cause the rest of the herd to stampede. So it was with great interest that, scrolling through the MPs who've signed a motion last week by Caroline Lucas for a vote of confidence in the PM, Mr S stumbled across the name of Sir Mike Penning. Penning was the only Conservative of the 19 Members to back the Early Day Motion and is generally regarded as a Tory loyalist. Was this the start of a great backbench rebellion? Alas not, for when Mr S got in touch with the Hemel Hempstead MP, his staff blamed 'fat fingers' for the accidental error, with Penning quickly withdrawing his name from the list.

Still, Penning isn't the only one putting his name to jibes at the PM. For Steerpike has spotted that the Tripadvisor reviews of No. 10 Downing Street have been swamped in recent weeks with users proclaiming the Grade I listed building as the 'best unknown night club in England.' One praised the 'very efficient' sound proofing and the 'amazing high end doormen/bouncers' while another noted how it boasts 'one of the best and most exclusive beer gardens in London' where the 'proprietor will even allow you to bring your own booze.' 

Others noted how 'several different types of party nights are available' and 'don't worry if you forget your drinks as they do provide cheese and wine.' However 'it's quite hard to pull a bird as some lad called Matty H seems to be the local legend.' Boris will just be hoping all these jokes don't mean it's the end of the party anytime soon.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

Topics in this articlePoliticsmike penningnumber 10