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Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Congratulations on your congratualtions

Even Coaker himself looked embarrassed as wave after wave of adulation was lavished on him from around the room.

The Gedling MP's promotion from a junior Home Office minister to Minister of State for Police was announced a couple of days ago.

But colleagues at this morning's debate were so eager to congratulate him that it turned into some sort of weird cross-party love in.

Nottingham North MP Graham Allen, who called for the debate, started off: "It would be remiss of me not to congratulate my right honourable friend on his promotion.”

Later adding that improving drug awareness would; "require a minister, perhaps even a minister-of-state, with unique determination - a quality my honourable friend possesses in abundance."

Fair enough, the two Notts MPs do go back a few years. But step up UKIP MP Bob Spink.

"It's lovely to have such a superb minister with us this morning and I congratulate him on his promotion," gushed the George-Formby-voiced member for Castlepoint.

"It's long overdue. He is one of the best, most caring and able-to-listen ministers in the House of Commons."

Things were getting in full flow. Time for Lib Dem Tom Brake, whose praise was tinged with a hint of jealousy.

He said: "Could I also start by congratulating the minister on his promotion.

"I'll keep my congratulations short because otherwise we may see the minister's head swelling from all the praise that he's received."

Then the Tory's James Brokenshire.

"Can I also congratulate the minister on his promotion?

"I've always found him fair-minded and always very honourable in the way he has conducted his dealings."

The new minister made a good go at humility when he stood up to respond, even sounding a little nervous.

He shouldn't worry though - the honeymoon period won’t last.

Joseph Watts
Parliamentary Correspondent

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