Disgraced Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell is to represent the United Kingdom at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, David Cameron has announced.
The Prime Minister hinted in February that Mr Mitchell was due for rehabilitation into ‘a major European role’ but speculation had focused on the European Commission, where Baroness Ashton is due to finish her term of office this year. But the news that he will be performing the slow-beat rock anthem ‘Believe in Me’ has been greeted positively by observers.
Mr Mitchell was forced to resign from the Cabinet in the ‘plebgate’ scandal last October, after Downing Street coppers alleged that he’d launched a foul-mouthed tirade and called them ‘f***ing plebs’ after they refused to allow him to cycle at 70mph down Whitehall indiscriminately running over small children and innocent old ladies.However, an independent inquiry subsequently revealed that all the police officers involved were as bent as nine-bob notes, and Mr Mitchell was exonerated.
Mr Mitchell said he was ‘incredibly honoured’ to have been selected to sing in front of an estimated 120m people at this year’s event in Malmo in May. ‘It’s a huge promotion,’ he said. ‘Better still the whole thing will be broadcast on live TV so you’ll be able to see exactly what I do and do not say to any of the backing singers, stage hands, Swedish police officers or other plebeians who will be on hand to support me.’
Commentators say that the prime minister’s choice of Mr Mitchell is a political masterstroke. ‘This really is brilliant news for Britain,’ said well-known Eurovision fanatic Iain Duncan Smith, whose own 2003 song ‘A Man Without Love’ achieved the infamous nul points and was dumped before the end of the Contest by his supporters.
‘It’s about time we had a victory in Europe. God knows we keep losing out every year at those ridiculous EU summits with all that endless caterwauling and political voting, so it’s only right that we’re taking the real business of Eurovision very seriously indeed.’
Leading pro-European Lord Heseltine (1990, “It’s My Time”) said the song choice was ‘suitably rousing’ and ‘will hark back to the glory days of the 1990s when Katrina & the Waves secured a series of important opt-outs from the Maastricht Treaty.
‘And, of course, it leaves the EU Commissioner role open for another senior figure able to provide the same kind of high-profile statesmanship we’ve all had from Baroness Ashton – Engelbert Humperdinck, perhaps, or better still Graham Norton.’