Chris Williamson’s decision to stand down from the frontbench so he can spend more time pontificating on subjects outside his former brief as shadow fire minister elicited some fond reflections about his past idiosyncrasies.
David Miliband was bemused by Williamson’s reaction when he visited the then-leader of Derby council when Miliband Sr was Local government Secretary some years ago.
The busy cabinet minister brought his own lunch with him but Williamson, a strict vegetarian, threw him out of his office when Miliband produced a tuna sandwich. The future leadership candidate ended up eating it in the car park.
Even more eccentric was Williamson’s insistence, when he was on a panel with Maria Eagle (a Defra Minister at the time) that the rape of dogs by humans was the most pressing animal welfare issue then facing the UK.
We look forward to hearing Williamson’s views on these and other issues now he is free from the constraints of collective responsibility, but suspect the ex fire minister may now be starting more conflagrations than he extinguishes.