Communities Minister Penelope ‘Penny’ Mordaunt is widely regarded as our sexiest MP.
True enough, her numerous swimsuit photos show her to be slightly on the heavy side, but generally falling into the ‘I would’ category.
And speaking in relative, rather than absolute terms, she is definitely tastier than Tessa Jowell, Theresa May or even David Davies.
You may think that talking about our legislators in such a flippant and disrespectful manner is demeaning to the Mother of all Parliaments.
Well, if you really feel that way, all I can say is that you were born 100 years too late. Protecting the honour of our fundamental institutions would have been apposite when Disraeli and Gladstone locked horns, for then our institutions did have honour to protect.
Since then they’ve become a sort of TV reality show, or perhaps a talk shop with a salesmanship dimension.
Most of the serious business of government is transacted elsewhere anyway, in Brussels, Strasbourg and Berlin. What’s left for the bums on green seats is basically self-promotion and point-scoring at the expense of those across the aisle.
Yet most of our MPs lack the honesty to admit that. They still put on fine airs and pretend they run the country, a pretence that’s wearing thinner by the minute.
That’s why one must compliment Penny Mordaunt not only on her thighs, relatively free of cellulite (and I do hope there was no Photoshop involved), but also on her candour.
The good time girl Penny knows exactly what our Parliament has become, and she doesn’t mind who else knows it.
That’s why she delivered a spoof speech about poultry welfare, the sole purpose of which was to give her an excuse to make smutty double entendres based on the words ‘cock’ and ‘lay’.
You see, Penny grew up in a paratrooper’s family and since then has had a soft spot for the armed forces. In due course she became a Navy reservist and in that capacity hangs out a lot with naval officers at Dartmouth.
Our sea wolves are known for their propensity for using language as salty as Atlantic water, and they tried to force Penny to yell obscenities during her training.
“They failed,” says Penny proudly, “but during our mess dinner at the end of the course, I was fined for a misdemeanour. The fine was to say a particular word, an abbreviation of cockerel, several times during a speech in the Commons…”
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Penny ploughed right ahead on the floor: “The cause of hen and cock welfare is raised with me by many of my constituents,” she said with a straight face Jack Dee would have envied.
“One strutting coxcomb,” she pressed on, “will lead to many chicks and what is to become of the male contingent with not a layer among them?”
And so on in the same vein, with a non-stop barrage of ‘cock crow’, ‘cock-a-hoop’, and ‘end-of-lay birds’. I was particularly moved by her reference to ‘laying hens of pensionable age’, a practice that can’t be too highly recommended.
She ended on a bravura call to action: “Let’s have no more cock-ups on hen welfare!”
The amazing thing was that the MPs present, including the Speaker, took her bit of fun seriously. John Bercow was even seen taking copious notes throughout.
When Miss Mordaunt eventually owned up to her prank, some MPs waxed indignant. Labour’s Sheila Gilmore, for example, said the spoof was offensive to those who genuinely cared about poultry welfare.
And former Labour minister Kate Hoey referred to Penny’s appearance on Splash! (which gave us the chance to admire her thighs) by saying, “She should realise that the House of Commons is not a TV reality show.”
But Kate, that’s precisely what it is, what it has become. Rather than ganging up on the curvaceous Penny Mordaunt, you lot should praise her for removing the silly pretence that Parliament still matters.
Dave, for one, knows how valuable Penny is, which is why he called her a ‘parliamentary star’.
And we all know how effortlessly and seamlessly such stardom can segue into stellar turns in other fields, such as the speech circuit, appearances on Have I Got News for You or consultancy to Russian gangsters and Muslim jihadists.
I do hope Penny uses the House of Commons as a springboard to success in stand-up comedy. And, as a fellow champion of poultry welfare, I wish she would clarify her position on matings between 41-year-old hens and cocks of pensionable age.