Westminster Times

Not many hacks can claim to have introduced a new phrase into the trade's colourful, and often foul-mouthed lexicon. Outgoing Newsnight reporter Jeremy Paxman is one of them.

And anyone, usually politicians, who heard the expression "you were well and truly Paxoed last night" knew exactly what it meant. They were probably still nursing the bruises to their egos and reputations.

By one of those wonderful coincidences, Paxo is also the name of a famous Turkey stuffing. And stuffing turkeys is what Paxman did with great regularity and to the huge enlightenment and amusement of the chattering classes and BBC2 show Newsnight viewers.

Everyone has their favourite example of someone being Paxoed. A personal favourite was the obliteration of the very young and very ill-prepared former (no coincidence there) minister Chloe Smith in 2012.

Paxman's monstering was so comprehensive it was hard not to feel sorry for the minister. Until you remembered she had been sent into the lion's den by her boss, chancellor George Osborne, who had just executed a breathtaking policy U-turn without warning any of his colleagues about it and then didn't have the cajones to face Paxman himself.

If Osborne had hoped Paxman would go easy on Smith because she was a young, female, second-tier apprentice he had misjudged the interviewer who appeared only further infuriated by what looked like an attempt to play him.

Watch and cringe.

The most famous example was probably the way he harried the then Tory Home Secretary, Michael Howard, over whether he had attempted to go beyond his brief and order prisons chief Derek Lewis to sack the head of Parkhurst Prison.

His simple repetition a dozen times of the same short question was riveting. It didn't, however, get an answer.

There have been some mischievous rumours since that 1997 incident suggesting the only reason Paxman persisted was because he had been sent a message saying his next guest was late and to keep the interview going.

I chose not to believe that.

Then there was the occasion Paxman asked Tony Blair if he and President George Bush prayed together and, most recently, Paxman appeared rather won over by Russell Brand, if not his flamboyant, not-quite-there politics.

There were plenty of misses as well, of course, but that isn't the point. Which is that the expression "to be Paxoed" needs someone to keep it alive.

George Osborne
Has Osborne started planning next job? Reuters

Foreign affairs

What is the worst thing a chancellor can do if he believes he has rescued the nation from bankruptcy and single-handedly won the next election for his party?

Speculating about the job he would like to have in the next government is up there.

So it cannot be the case that George Osborne has already let it be known he wants to be the next Foreign Secretary, as reported. Can it?

Mind you, after chancellor, it is about the only other big job worth doing, apart from prime minister of course.

And, as somebody once said, there are two types of chancellor, the ones who fail and the ones who get out in time.

Order, order

Speaker John Bercow and prime minister David Cameron don't exchange birthday presents. Well, you can't get a spitting cobra into a gift box very easily.

But things took a particularly nasty turn during question time this week when Bercow cut the prime minister short during his clash with Ed Miliband.

As Cameron sat down he muttered "I had finished" or "I hadn't finished" (the row made it hard to be sure).

But the Speaker heard well enough and declared: "In response to that question, the prime minister has finished."

He didn't stop there, though, adding: "And he can take it from me that he is finished."

Observers struggle to think of any occasion when any Speaker has had a worse relationship with any party leader, let alone prime minister.

David and Samantha Cameron
David Cameron: A date night with Samantha Reuters

Date night

There was more than a little surprise when it emerged David Cameron did not vote at the end of the second reading debate of the bill introducing the high speed rail project.

He was facing a backbench rebellion and had been expected to set an example by voting with his own government/himself?

Admittedly, thanks to Labour support he knew he was going to win with a thumping majority, but still.

Anyway, the word is he ducked out because he had booked a date night with his wife Samantha which he didn't want to break.

Sounds like the right call to me. And that box set of The Walking Dead won't watch itself.