British political correspondents today said they were ‘baffled’ and ‘alarmed’ by the sudden disappearance of many MPs and ministers they relied on to keep their fingers on the pulse of British politics.
“They’ve gone” said one. “Just vanished. And no-one has any idea how or why, or where they went.”
According to one lobby hack, he found a valued parliamentary contact in his office filling a tea chest full of personal effects. “When I asked for news of the latest bold initiative, he just laughed bitterly.”
The mysterious disappearances started three weeks ago, says an experienced lobby hand, when he suddenly noticed that no-one was available for lunch.
Further investigation revealed that most MPs left London for a reason the journalist could not identify. Even the MPs for London constituencies had left Westminster, leaving parliamentary media stranded.
“There was a rumour that the MPs had gone to the country” said the lobby hack. “But which country? It was as though everyone had dropped from the face of the earth”
Senior lobby correspondents date this eccentric pattern of political behaviour to the 2013 vote on military action in Syria.
“There we were, seriously reporting what serious people had to say on this serious issue after serious briefings and then it suddenly turned out that Labour weren’t really into it and half the Parliamentary Conservative Party would rather bite their own toes off than vote for another war.”
“How could we be expected to know all that?” added a colleague. “We just report on parliament.”
As the lobby hands tried to get to the bottom of this mysterious train of events, word came of a rumour that Ed Miliband had moved into David Cameron’s old house.
“Or maybe he hasn’t. We just don’t know” said one.
“Let’s get on it” said another. If we can stand it up, at least we’ll have a diary piece.”