Wetting the new arrival's head

December 24, 2004

The departure of Charles Clarke and the arrival of Ruth Kelly at the Department for Education and Skills appears to have been a champagne moment for some civil servants.

Within hours of Ms Kelly's arrival at the Sanctuary Buildings, the Westminster offices of the department, officials were seen entering the building carrying plastic bags full of bottles of bubbly.

It is unclear whether the corks were to pop in sadness at the departure of the bullish Mr Clarke to the Home Office or to celebrate the arrival of the MP for Bolton West, who holds the record for the number of babies born while sitting in Parliament - not, of course, literally.

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