Games in the house of cards

September 26, 2003

The Liberal Democrats were recast as kings, queens and jacks in a pack of playing cards being sold at the party's conference in Brighton this week.

The packs rank the 54 MPs from the aces to jokers, with a pecking-order linked to time served in parliament. While higher education spokesman David Rendel is a ten of diamonds, his boss, education spokesman Phil Willis, is a lowly four. Party leader Charles Kennedy is predictably everybody's darling as the king of hearts.

The Diary asked delegates what game would best suit the pack. "Gin rummy", muttered a thirsty delegate en route to the bar. What about poker, representing the Lib Dem gamble to overtake the Tories as the main party of opposition? The Diary suggested. No, chuckled another delegate, for the Lib Dems it has got to be patience.

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