With taxpayers currently facing the prospect of a £3 billion bill in order to stop Parliament turning into a 'ruin', perhaps it's time the Speaker took a note out of Baroness Benjamin's book in order to reduce the cost to the taxpayer. During a Walking with the Wounded charity cricket match at the weekend, Floella Benjamin managed to tempt a bidder to pay £800 for a tour of the crumbling building.
'You realise that the Houses of Parliament soon will not be occupied by either the Lords or the MPs, so this is actually a chance to see something before it is restored,' she told an audience which included Nick Compton and Lady Kitty Spencer. The Lib Dem peer also told Mr S that she is backing Farron as 'he is the right person to appeal to the most people'.
However it was another politician at the Dockers cricket match - organised by Hugh Grant and Mowbray Jackson - who attracted the most attention. Nigel Farage made a surprise appearance, although following the sacking and then 'unsacking' of Suzanne Evans as a Ukip spokesman, he seemed keen to keep a low profile. His name was absent from both the guest list and seating plan, and he found safe company among the Chelsea pensioners and his two bulky bodyguards.
Happily other Ukip members were more forthcoming at the event, which William Cash and Ukip deputy chairman Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine also attended. Christine was in a more revealing mood when Steerpike caught up with her. 'I would love to quietly retire but I am shackled to a political lunatic,' Hamilton sighed. Mr S can't argue with that.