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I Don't Need a Picture of Diane Abbott

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Now you know you have paid for portraits of everyone from Abbott to Clarkson (Ken - not Jeremy, though the latter would have been preferable), it should come as no surprise that the most expensive of them all was John Bercow at £37,000.

His coat of arms states 'All men are equal'... though some are clearly more equal than others, particularly if you have to ask to be painted taller and need to shout to be heard on a regular basis.

Along with saying things people want to hear, vanity is a key ingredient of any politician. Defined as pride in one's appearance or achievements, politicians usually fail on appearance but talk about their achievements in spades.

Vanity over achievement is incessant; Thatcher banged on about breaking militant trade unionism. Theresa May will not let us forget she deported the Hooked Preacher of Hate. Boris is so certain of his achievements he got away with calling Nick Clegg a condom.

But vanity over appearance is a pretty mixed bag. We expect our politicians to be more interested in their job than their looks. Unless you are the PM, then even your hairdresser gets an MBE.

Despite dressing like he just stepped out of a sleeping bag he spent the night in, Ken Clarke sat for a portrait. Crumpled and creased he is the Minister without Portfolio - or jacket.

John Major - arguably one of the least interesting politicians of our time - was cast as a bronze bust for the bargain price of £6,000 to hide the fact his suit was from Debenhams.

The award for 'Portrait from Hell' has to go to Diane Abbott. Having sat opposite her last week for a spat over benefit fraud in Britain, I can safely say she looks nothing like the distorted image that cost us £11,750.

I can only assume Diane was poorly briefed and thought she was supposed to sit as a 'life model'. She appears to be in the buff. I would suggest that the artist - whilst not great at his actual job - was a man that did not frighten easily.

Taxpayers ask a great deal of their MPs. We want them to fix their pot holes, resolve their planning disputes and somehow stop people parking where they shouldn't. We also want them to represent our views fairly in Parliament - no matter how divided those views maybe.

The one thing we didn't ask for was a whacking great picture of them in case we forget their good deeds or looks.

If you need a picture to remind you of someone, they clearly didn't make a lasting impression on your life in the first place.

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