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Mr Danley’s Diary

Tweet him with respect, the
blonde bombshell MP is Fab
by name and fab by nature

WITH the most talked-about blonde tresses in parliament since Michael Heseltine tried to out-Tarzan the original film star, Johnny Weissmuller, it was rather fitting that Michael Fabricant should have been ‘political adviser’ to the BBC series The Final Cut – last of the House of Cards trilogy about infamous Machiavellian Prime Minister, Francis Urquhart.

The Lichfield MP even had a cameo role in one of the episodes – clearly seen in the ‘crossing the floor’ speech scene next to disgruntled Tom Makepeace, played by actor Paul Freeman.

And those luscious locks have kept House of Commons sketch writers’ pens sharpened for more than 20 years now – the time he has been representing the area in Westminster.

The wig (rather than Whig) theory has abounded with famous interjections by 1970s Tory premier Edward Heath who once reportedly asked the city MP if he was wearing one.

Mr Fabricant’s reply prompted the retort from the sailor PM: “Well, it’s not a very good one” while former Labour heavyweight Ian McCartney, an ex- Cabinet Office Minister, was a shade more brutal when he once opined: “Provided he doesn’t mention my Glaswegian accent, I won’t mention his wig.”

Those same columnists hit him hard when almost overnight his hair went from normal to “caressing the collar of his jacket”. One inquired diligently: “Yesterday the thing had reached his shoulders. MPs on both sides of the chamber were transfixed with curiosity and awe. How could a wig not only grow but grow so fast to such a length?

“How many My Little Ponies were slaughtered to make such a creation?”

The 62-year-old Tory politician has had his brushes with the ‘law’ too – on both sides of the Atlantic.

When on holiday walking along a jungle trail near the coastal town of Santa Marta in Colombia in August 2008, a patrol of armed Colombian soldiers stopped him, suspecting him of cocaine possession when they discovered a jar of white powder in his rucksack.

In spite of trying to explain that the jar did not contain cocaine, he was forced to eat several mouthfuls.

On suffering no ill effects the soldiers also tried it, realising that it was dried milk. While the MP thought that Colombian coffee was “really very, very good”, he wasn’t so sure about the local milk.

Last month unflappable Fabricant was fined £60 for driving at 35mph in a 30mph zone in South Wales. He told the Commons of his “shock” at being caught speeding and joked in future he will make more use of the railways.

The immense popularity of the Lichfield Commons member was more than illustrated by a Daily Mail story on the subject with the national newspaper closing an online comments file at 156 posts – with one summing up the cross section of replies: “Michael Fabricant is my local MP. Yes he looks strange but he is a great MP. He is very popular with his constituents and goes to extraordinary lengths to help people.”

And the colourful character of the Brighton-born MP can give as good as he gets. He’s cocked a snook at protocol in the hallowed chambers of the Commons being described as “gorgeous at both ends” when casually resting his feet on the bench in front of him, revealing a pair of black and pink hooped socks.

Almost a decade ago he took the mickey out of none other former Labour top gun John Prescott – fighting an election this week to be Humberside’s new police and crime commissioner – asking why an out-of-town shopping centre just outside Lichfield had been demanded by his voters, approved by the inspectors, given the nod by the relevant councils, and yet refused by the one-time deputy prime minister’s office.

But the September 2012 reshuffle by PM David Cameron, which enabled MP Fabricant to resign his Government whip post after seven years controlling the Tory members in the House, has seemingly liberated our man with the Commons touch.

He says he’s been “silenced” for too long now. “A whip in Opposition can speak out but not when you are a whip in Government,” he suggested.

Now the former systems and econometrics master’s graduate, who became our man in Moscow, the NetherlandsUgandaItaly and Iceland as director of the International Broadcasting Electronic and Investment Group, has a new-found freedom and a “tweet” in his step.

Since the Whips’ Office chains have been loosened, Mr Fabricant has become a prolific user of Twitter. He tweets them here, he tweets them there, he tweets them everywhere . . .

On the day he resigned as a Government whip he tweeted he was “ecstatic” and “been kissed by three women and one man”. He has since considered dressing up as former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell as a ‘highlights of 2012.

And Fabricant’s sense of timing is impeccable. Just one day before the beleaguered Mitchell fell on his sword and resigned after the police plebs allegations – the Lichfield MP warned on twitter that by heckling Labour leader Ed Miliband and insisting he hadn’t sworn, the Sutton Coldfield parliamentarian had re-ignited the row.

Fabricant tweeted: “Oh dear. Labour were never going to let the story go away, but now he has managed to re-ignite it himself. Self-ignition?”

The man with a 17,000+ majority at the last election told his party faithful at the Lichfield Conservative Association annual dinner at Drayton Manor that he wants to see new trade relations outside of the EU – with the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Who would want to tie themselves to a single fiscal policy with the likes of Spain, Greece or the Czech Republic, he questioned.

Returning from the hustings of the crucial Corby by-election trail, MP Fabricant entertained his audience with tales of alleged verbal fisticuffs with his campaign opposite number, Dudley North Labour MP Ian Austin, and stories of land value irregularities in the town while brandishing a big red booklet called ‘Labour in Corby – Shambles Doesn’t Begin To Describe It’.

Dinner guest speaker, Education Minister Michael Gove, said the Lichfield member was simply wonderful as a constituency stalwart and “I’m certainly not as hard working as he is.”

He said he was surprised Mr Fabricant had been made a whip in the first place as he was “full of energy and loves to talk”. He added: “As a whip it was like being Zsa Zsa Gabor in a nunnery – playing out of position.”

Perhaps our blonde bombshell is best summed up in the Bob Dylan number he sang enthusiastically to festival-goers last year.

The apt verses of The Times They Are A-Changin which call on ‘writers and critics who prophesize with your pen’ and how the ‘old road is rapidly agein.’

Now that he’s whipless, he is hoping he is back on the right lines with every intention of challenging critics over his HS2 stance – to ensure that the proposed route is well outside the Staffordshire boundary.

Will he take note of the final lyrics of that famous Sixties anthem in relation to the high speed train proposals?

The line it is drawn, The curse it is cast
The slow one now, Will later be fast
As the present now, Will later be past
The order is, Rapidly fadin’
And the first one now, Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

One thing’s for sure, we should all take note of the esteemed member for Lichfield who in the words of the Secretary of State for Education is: “Fab by name and fab by nature.”

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