Steerpike

Wes Streeting bares all

Wes Streeting bares all
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All bets were off at the Hippodrome casino last night as London's nerdiest politicos piled into Leicester Square to watch the first For the Many live recording. For those unfamiliar with this Westminster institution, it is nothing but an hour of smut and innuendo masquerading as a political podcast. Carry On Up The Commons, if you will. And hosts Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith were on fine form as they welcomed a rising star into their midst: Labour's Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting.

The stage, we were informed, was where the muscled lotharios of the popular Magic Mike strip show usually gyrate, titillate and stimulate heaving hordes of female admirers. And it was Streeting's turn to excite and arouse the attendant army of centrist dads as he deployed the deftness of a Chippendale in evading his hosts' more invasive questions.

With a flash of his wits and a hint of his smile, the Ilford North MP cooly dodged such questions as to whether last night's menage a trois was his first threesome (it was), if he'd enjoyed Ugandan discussions in parliament ('No and I wouldn't want to – have you seen them?') and which of Rishi, Priti and Boris he'd treat to an 'Eat Out to Help' offer (no comment).

Smith promised a 'rigorous interrogation' of Streeting and the ex Home Secretary delivered, forcing the  former student politician to reveal his lowlights politics reel. A lover of Elton John, Streeting recalled that an early brush with headline fame was when he updated the lyrics to the pinball wizard's 'Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me' to a lewder version:

I ended up in a Welsh local newspaper when I was president of the NUS [National Union of Students], I did the Workers' Beer Festival at Reading in 2009 or 2010 and we did the karaoke for all the volunteers at the end of the week and I sang with a bunch of people from the Alliance for Workers' Liberty Don't Let Your Mum Go Down on Me and this made local news in Wales which was pretty bonkers because I was in Reading. I think it must have some really angry revolutionary socialist who lived in that part of town who wrote into their local newspaper.

Since then of course Streeting has focused his efforts on Labour politics, revealing to the 200 or so attendees his reasons for tweeting pictures of himself canvassing on the doorstep: 'Part of that is about inspiring the troops, part of that is about self-deception which comes in very handy if you're a Labour activist, given recent elections.' Asked about politicians' backgrounds, Streeting even tried out the latest Labour appeal to swing voters, arguing: 'If you want to break the strangehold that people from Oxbridge have on the highest office like No. 10, you can elect Keir Starmer to be our Prime Minister because he went to Leeds University.'

Yet will Streeting serve in any such government, given his flourishing media career? The Shadow Health Secretary last week did a successful stand-in shift for the absent James O'Brien on what LBC presenter Iain Dale dubbed the 'Labour Broadcasting Corporation.'  Streeting admitted to rather enjoying the experience and was even praised by O'Brien's regular listeners: 'Someone texted in and said "Blimey we've got to the first commercial break and he's taken a question – this is much better than James O'Brien"!'

Damned by faint praise indeed. Still, if it all does go terribly wrong for Labour, at least Streeting can take comfort from the fact that smut is no bar to having a successful career in broadcasting. For Iain Dale raised the biggest gasps of the night after praising what might euphemistically be described as the size of Michael Gove's, er, constituency – something verified by Andrew Mitchell at the urinals, apparently.

Labour will be hoping that their performance next month mirrors Streeting on stage – very impressive at the poles.

Written bySteerpike

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

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