A View From the Foothills - Chris Mullin

SO what was it really like to be part of Tony Blair s government? Sunderland MP Chris Mullin tells all in A View From the Foothills (�9.99, Profile), his funny, and often scathing, diaries from 1999 to 2005. He confirms our suspicions that Yes Minister wa

SO what was it really like to be part of Tony Blair's government?

Sunderland MP Chris Mullin tells all in A View From the Foothills (�9.99, Profile), his funny, and often scathing, diaries from 1999 to 2005.

He confirms our suspicions that Yes Minister was virtually a fly-on-the-wall documentary about parliamentary life.

We begin as Mullin is made a parliamentary under-secretary in John Prescott's Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions.


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He is distinctly underwhelmed and makes no secret of his dislike of Prescott's antics.

There are amusing Sir Humphrey-style shenanigans such as when Mullin refuses to have a ministerial car, and the outcry from MPs when it is suggested that on short haul flights, the select committees should fly economy class instead of club.

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He pulls no punches in his views of his colleagues.

At one point, he muses: "It is not desirable for Gordon to succeed to the throne... He is obsessive, doesn't listen... and is the architect of many of our worst mistakes."

He describes the newly elected President George W Bush as "an intellectually and morally deficient serial killer".

And when Peter Mandelson is forced to resign for the second time, in 2001, Mullin notes: "The truth is, most people on our side are glad to see the back of him."

In 2003 Clare Short resigns and Mullin is briefly offered his dream job - Secretary of State for International Development - until Blair remembers that he voted against the war with Iraq, and the offer is withdrawn.

A wonderful, entertaining and insightful read full of gossipy anecdotes about life inside the Commons.

- LINDSAY JONES

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