1. Transfer of HoL [House of Lords] reform to Jack Straw means that Teresa [May, the shadow Leader of the Commons] will speak for us: this is a sensitive issue and Teresa is neither liked nor trusted across the party. A tight rein will be necessary.
2. Nicholas Soames wants to talk to you about how to ‘stroke’ the peers. I have asked Louise for a slot.
What can this mean? Nicholas Soames is a preposterous voluptuary (and close friend of the Prince of Wales) who never fails to amuse. One of his estranged ex-girlfriends was once quoted (I think in Private Eye) as saying that making love to Soames was “like having a very large wardrobe fall on you — with the key sticking out”. He always reminds me of another celebrated voluptuary, Lord Castlerosse, who was similarly statuesque. The prospect of Dave and Soames massaging members of the House of Lords does not bear thinking about.