A FORMER East Lancashire MP has published letters she wrote to the Queen from her time as the Palace’s ‘official gossip’ at the House of Commons.
Janet Anderson, who held the post of MP for Rossendale and Darwen from 1992 until 2010, has released excerpts from her notes to the head of state from when she was vice-chamberlain of the royal household.
In her position, Mrs Anderson was charged with reporting the day’s news from the House of Commons to Her Majesty each evening, as well as taking her messages from the Commons and acting as the ‘hostage’ during the State Opening of Parliament.
The letters, published in the Mail on Sunday, are peppered with scathing comments about other politicians, describing how former Home Secretary Michael Howard was seen by many as ‘particularly loathsome’ and calling John Bercow, current Speaker of the House, ‘a rather nasty little MP’.
She even corresponded with the Queen about rumours and gossip in Parliament, writing that five labour MPs were reported to have had babies or got pregnant since the general election, when they were aware of just four.
Mrs Anderson wrote: “Who is the fifth? And, more importantly, is she married, or at the very least in a stable relationship?”
She admitted another occasion where, while at a lunch at Buckingham Palace, she filled in the courtiers on ‘MPs’ misdemeanours’.
Tony Blair, who was Prime Minister at the time, is reported to have congratulated Mrs Anderson on her daily reports at the end of her time in the job, saying the Queen had enjoyed them.
Mrs Anderson, who was also the personal assistant of current Blackburn MP Jack Straw until 1987, said to Mr Blair: “Oh, good... I expect that’s because I used to give her all the gossip.”
In 1998, she was promoted to the role of parliamentary undersecretary of state at the department of culture, media and sport, but returned to the back benches in 2001.
Mrs Anderson left parliament in 2010 and is now working as a freelance consultant.