Westminster Times
Westminster Times (Reuters)

In case you have been living in a cave for a week, London Mayor Boris Johnson has been in China competing for attention with Chancellor George Osborne.

As their tour came to an end the Chancellor announced a series of investment deals and when asked on BBC's Newsnight whether he had any qualms about dealing with the Communist regime declared: "Well they are a lot more market orientated than the British Labour Party are at the moment."

Yes, but the man Osborne fears is a Marxist (that's Ed Miliband by the way) will at least have to go through an election before he can get his hands on the commanding heights of the economy.

For his part, Boris tweeted: "Visit to M&S flagship store in Shanghai - an example of a great UK brand export growing in China".

A cursory glance along the clothing shelves of a local Marks and Spencer revealed may items labelled Made in Vietnam, some from Bangladesh and quite a few from Indonesia.

Still, at least there were none labelled Made in China which would have given a whole new meaning to the expression "Coals to Newcastle".

Topless pictures

A round of applause for Labour's new equalities minister, former TV reporter Gloria De Piero, who has found the best way to take the sting out of a story is to get it out there first.

She has discovered a newspaper is offering several thousand pounds for topless pictures of her which she posed for when she was a teenager.

Rather than seeking a superinjunction or threatening legal action she has declared: "I have talked about why I posed for these pictures in interviews before. I thought at the time it was a way of improving my circumstances. This is part of my story and part of who I am. I can't change it now but this happened over twenty years ago.

"It is now time to call off the hunt for these pictures and let me get on with the job I was elected to do, representing the people of Ashfield and serving in the shadow cabinet.

"I don't think anyone wants politics to be open only to those people who were planning their political careers in their teens. I would like to see a politics that represents our country, including many more women from all walks of life, and that is something I am passionately committed to help bring about.

"No one should have to worry that something they did when they were young might prevent them from serving their community or getting involved in politics at a local or national level," she said.

Quite right and lots of support for her around Westminster. It probably won't help, of course.

Sweet dreams?

The trouble with Twitter is that, sometimes, 140 characters just isn't enough, as Tory MP Tracey Crouch proved the other day when she posted the following tantalising snippet.

"Just remembered a dream from last night. Was made to go to Cliff Richard's boat to find a specific Fleetwood Mac record. He didn't have it".

That begs so many questions I don't know where to start. I particularly like the fact she was "made to go" to Cliff's boat.

Royal pool

Parliament's annual pool contest is always a big draw, but events beyond the organisers' control conspired to keep some people away this year.

First, it was held on the same night as the England-Poland match, then the Commons sitting finished early, letting MPs head home for the big match (and I'm still not quite sure how they pulled that one off).

The best excuse of the night, however, came from semi-finalist Conservative MP Nigel Adams who arrived so late for his match against Labour MP Simon Danczuk organisers faced a real dilemma - call off the match and hand a victory to Labour or wait for the errant Tory to turn up.

In the end a gracious Danczuk said he would allow a stand-in to take Adams' place. Up stepped Tory David Amess who was then given a pool cue, shown which end to hit the ball with and went on to lose!

When Adams did turn up in time to take over the vital remaining frames his excuse was simple: "I'm sorry I was at the Palace" (Buckingham Palace where there had been a Royal reception).

Some people need to get their priorities sorted out.

Meeting his Trafalgar

Armed forces minister Mark Francois was speaking during a Commons debate on defence when he chipped in with the little-known fact that one of his ancestors had fought at the Battle of Trafalgar.

The revelation was greeted with a chorus of: "On which side".