Newmark expunged? Not quite - his foreword is still on display

The Conservative Party might be regretting turning down a request from Acevo for an introduction by the Prime Minister for its Blue Book of the Voluntary Sector

Paisley pyjamas, similar to those worn by...
Paisley pyjamas, similar to those worn by...

The organisers of the recent Tory conference did an effective job of expunging the words Brooks Newmark from agendas and speaker line-ups. But the party paid the price of having turned down the request from the charity chief executives body Acevo for an introduction by the Prime Minister for its Blue Book of the Voluntary Sector about Tory policies on charities and civil society. There it is and remains on the cover: foreword by ahem ahem, Minister for Civil Society.

The new charities minister, Rob Wilson, has proved relatively coy so far. Third Sector's man had barely finished introducing himself at the conference when Wilson cut in with: "I'm not going to say anything, I haven't even met my staff." Well, he had been appointed only hours beforehand. His caution with the press, however, did not, it seems, prevent him enjoying the hospitality of The Daily Telegraph well into the night.

The Charities Aid Foundation always has a stall at the party conferences, and at the Tories it displayed a large cartoon of "Charity Street", complete with key political players enjoying themselves. William Hague, for example, was depicted with a glass of wine in hand – although he reportedly complained that it should have been a pint. But if we're true to the record, shouldn't that be 13 pints?

One of the debates about the hitherto media-shy Paula Sussex, the new chief executive of the Charity Commission, is whether she has a sense of humour. The jury is still out, but the signs are encouraging so far. In a speech in September, for example, she joked that the silver in a senior colleague's hair was the result of her recent arrival. She's also referred drily to the commission's Liverpool-based operations team as a "pretty scary bunch" and to her press officer as an "armed guard" – both fairly accurate, in At Large's experience.

At Large is exercising a self-denying ordinance on further jokes and stories about ahem ahem on the grounds that it is a horrible tragedy for all concerned. One detail, though: anyone who wants to commemorate the saga while also helping a good cause can buy a pair of paisley pyjamas for £39 from the Traidcraft Christmas catalogue. Made in Mauritius with "elasticated waist bottoms" – which are, presumably, a bit safer.

More on fashion: it's nice that the NSPCC has partnered with Jaeger for their joint 130th anniversary: the latter is selling an NSPCC silk scarf for £125 and donating £25. But the interview on Jaeger's website with Alison Jeremy, NSPCC head of comms, goes beyond the call of duty as she waxes lyrical about Jaeger's autumn collection: "I love the dogstooth dress - its slightly longer length is ultra-flattering, and I feel like Jackie O when I wear it!" And so on and on, like a free ad. Bit much, really.

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