The forgotten room

October 15, 2003 ,

OCCASIONALLY you stumble across a place you didn't know existed as you navigate your way around the maze that is the Palace of Westminster.

Recently I took a wrong turn and found myself in an empty room that time seems to have forgotten.

Apparently it is the "Games Room". It has a green baize table for playing cards and an old chess set gathering dust.
It seems that no-one has used the room for years, but change comes slowly in the Commons, and the forgotten room lies empty and unchanged from a bygone era.

On the wall of this forgotten room is a photograph of a forgotten politician.
The "Unknown Prime Minister" was the title of the biography of Canadian-born Andrew Bonar Law.
He succeeded Welshman David Lloyd George as Prime Minister, but lasted only a few months.

His chief, and perhaps only, claim to fame, is that the Conservative rebellion against Lloyd George's coalition government in 1922 which made Bonar Law Prime Minister is responsible for the unusual name of the Conservative Party's committee of backbenchers.

This week the 1922 Committee met to consider the future of the party's leader Iain Duncan Smith. Some believed that his tough-talking speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool might have saved his troubled leadership.

But the investigation of the employment of Betsy Duncan Smith in IDS's office could be the final straw for Tory MPs who can be found plotting against him in parliamentary corridors.

Perhaps one day Iain Duncan Smith's portrait will hang in the Games Room of the House of Commons to be stumbled upon by future MPs.
Will he become the forgotten leader hanging with the forgotten Prime Minister, in the forgotten room?