Politics.co.uk Blog

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Sad faces on the last day of term

The similarities between parliament and school are endless, not least of all because they contain the only humans who still use the phrase 'half-term'.

My colleague and I have just been watching MPs file out and say their goodbye to the Speaker and the leader of the House.

One by one they shook John Bercow's hand and exchanged pleasantries. But the real action was just behind the chair, as they gave their best wishes to Harriet Harman.

Surprisingly warm and amiable, Harman had three modes: A handshake, a hug, or a hug and kiss. The warmest option was offered to a surprising amount of members, even many of the old-school posh Tories. Sitting right above them, just a couple of metres away, it was the first time we'd ever felt like we were eavesdropping.

The most interesting moment came when she bid farewell to James Purnell, who offered a lot more warmth than she did. The body language was all his, and she kept her distance as he acted friendly. For hundreds of members, today is the last day they'll step into that room, unless they opt for the public viewing gallery.

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