Having the whip removed can be an uncomfortable thing. MPs are masochists, after all, so not having it anymore is sure to leave many of the 21 who lost it this week distraught at the situation they find themselves in.
But, no longer shackled by the party they rode in on, it’s not all bad news. Many will now find themselves walking around the Commons with renewed vigour at this unexpected new freedom. Shorn of their overlords in number 10, there is no limit to what they can achieve.
Straight off the bat, were they to form a new political party (Change UK II, the Independent Party Reloaded, or Return of John Major’s Bastards, say) they would form the fourth largest group in parliament, adding them to the long list of things more relevant than the Liberal Democrats.
But that would be too obvious. There are plenty of other things they could try.
Take a turn on the Bake-Off
The Great British Bake Off format has gone stale. It’s high time it was shaken up a bit. Want to see how in touch with the people your representatives really are? Then why not stick 21 of them in a tent to see who can collapse a soufflé the fastest. Given how quickly they lost the government its majority, it really will be a race to the soggy bottom. What’s more, I can’t wait for the new Bake Off to incorporate bits of parliament into the show: Mutterings of ‘shaaaame, shaaaaame’ when Paul Hollywood criticizes Dominic Grieve’s Victoria Sponge or has another affair, Prue Leith calling ‘Hors d’oeuvres, hors d’ooooeuvrrrres’ to bring the tent under control, or the passive aggressive waving of napkins and use of the phrase ‘my right honorable friend’ when Justine Greening sabotages Antoinette Sandbach’s Baked Alaska.
Start a football club
With Bury being turfed out of the football league, there is scope for a new club to emerge and take their place. Step forward, then, AFC Conservative and Unionist, ready to take on all comers, with big Dave Gauke at the back, ‘Spreadsheet’ Phil Hammond patrolling the touchline and Sam Gyimah (Saaam Gyimah! Saaam Gyimah!) running down the wing. The club crest draws itself, too, taking inspiration from fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers by snaking together the key letters from their name: C, U, N… Oh.
Front a BBC a travel show
Sir Nicholas Soames and Sir Kenneth Clarke have spent most of their adult lives in the Commons, so it’s about time the pair of them got out and saw the world. Following on from the formats of the ‘Two Hairy Bikers,’ ‘Two Fat Ladies’ and ‘Two Greedy Italians,’ ‘Too Old to Function’ will see the intrepid duo make their way across Europe to observe the lands one of them loves dearly, and the other’s grandfather loved to bomb. Expect boozy lunches along the riviera, more linen outfits than any man should ever wear, and lots and lots of mid day naps. Just don’t mention your grandfather’s role in ze war, Nicky.
Become an international model
Rory Stewart was expelled from the Tory Party on the same evening he was invited in to the GQ Party, where he accepted the award for politician of the year. But Stewart did more than just turn up— he turned out, dazzling in a double breasted dinner jacket, and pushing boundaries with a wild tartan trouser and waistcoat ensemble that was so vibrant one would have to smoke opium to be able to appreciate the sheer variety of colours on show.
Rory certainly has the wiry figure needed to be a model — all that cardio walking across the Middle East and various random constituencies has done wonders for his metabolism — whilst he has the gaunt features coupled with the boyish hair to make his face stand out in a crowd. Perhaps, then, as one door closes, another miraculously opens: Could we see Rory Stewart strutting his stuff at Paris Fashion Week dripping in Burberry, or peacocking at Pitti in velvet Versace? Stranger things have happened — look at the week we’ve had in Westminster, if you don’t believe me.