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Chezza comes up smelling of roses after flower show; Quirky stories from behind the scenes in the corridors of power SPIN DOCTOR.

SHE might occasionally look like an extra from EastEnders (Spin Doctor apologises for his catty side, he just can't help it sometimes) but few people had Cheryl Gillan, pictured, down as a Benson and Hedges kind of girl.

The Welsh Secretary, plummy-voiced Cheltenham Ladies College product that she is, is not known as a 20-a-day puffer of the golden-packeted cancer sticks - nor their stable-mates Silk Cuts, Camels or Winstons.

A spokesman for Chezza - as she'd be called if she popped up in Albert Square wearing a pair of dangly, colourful earrings puffing DOCTOR So it was that the world - or at least the imaginary politics-loving world in which Spin Doctor hopes everyone lives - was stunned when it was revealed she attended the Chelsea Flower Show as a guest of Japan Tobacco International, the maker of the fully-flavoured ciggies.

away outside the Queen Vic - insisted she had only attended the flower show to look at the Welsh gardens and did not take up JTI's full hospitality offer, which included lunch.

We wondered why Chezza skipped lunch, but then perhaps she had a cigar date with her Cabinet colleague, the former deputy chairman of JTI's rival British America Tobacco, Kenneth Clarke MP.

OUR rosy-cheeked Prime Minister's focus on Britain's "national interest" has sparked more discussion about everybody's "national interest" than has ever been seen outside of an international politics classroom.

Suddenly First Ministers in Edinburgh and Cardiff Bay were vehemently debating their nation's own "national interests" and how they were being served by David Cameron's interpretation of this traditionally academic phrase.

Spin Doctor would not for a minute suspect that Carwyn Jones, Alex Salmond or David Cameron would confuse his own political interests for his nation's national interests. Well OK, maybe a few minutes.

But it does seem that having a "national interest" - as opposed to a national interest bill (surely a truer test of your status as a nation) - is the latest de-rigueur accessory for a politician to have. Pundits too must have an opinion on what their nation's national interest is or risk being the political equivalent of a fashionista without a Burberry Mac and shades.

(Spin Doctor apologies for his lack of fashion knowledge. He is wearing a pair of five-year-old cords.) THE Speaker of the Commons - a man whose love of generating headlines is almost on a par with Katie Price's - has admitted he punished Chancellor George Osborne with three hours at the dispatch box.

Spin Doctor was initially outraged the Speaker would view punishing Cabinet members as his responsibility.

But then we looked up the role of Speaker in an authoritative journal - Wikipedia - and found that punishing MPs was indeed one of his responsibilities. We look forward to the day he decides to put the Prime Minister in the stocks for PMQs.

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David Cameron
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 18, 2011
Words:469
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