Since losing office to Boris Johnson last year, former London mayor Ken Livingstone has at times appeared at a loss as to how to occupy his spare time. This week in Brighton, fresh from his weekend wedding at London Zoo, he appeared perplexed as to where to find lunch
I caught him scavenging a meal among the dirty plates after the end of a fringe event that was run, ironically enough, by the Greater London Authority. “They’ve closed all the paying lunch venues to run fringe events,” he complained. After I told him who’s lunch he was stealing he seemed very pleased. “You must pass my regards to Kulveer [Ranger, Boris’ transport director] and thank him for the meal,” he quipped, with a mischievous grin.
- David Eastgate, chief executive of Hyde Housing Group, was one of an elite picked out at this year’s Labour conference to take part in a discussion about housing on the main stage with minister John Healey.
Although Eastgate rejects the housing association fat cat slander (some of his peers in other associations are paid as much as £300k) he is, it appears, not frightened of other cattish comparisons. Eastgate was left red-faced when his phone went off while he was trapped inside the conference security x-ray machine. The ring-tone? The full theme to sixties cartoon Top Cat.
- The dark clouds engulfing the economy and the Labour party during this conference didn’t do anything to interrupt the normal, er, bonhomie associated with it. One of the security guards reported seeing a woman going through security on the way back to her hotel room in “a terrible state”. Apparently she asked him whether he thought she’d be alright to run a seminar at nine in the morning. He didn’t think so: after all it was already 6.30am. Presumably the seminar wasn’t about the ills of binge drinking …