Oliver walked the walk of a man in tailor-made trousers. At the consultation with his personal tailor in Jermyn Street (established in 1689), they had measured and agreed on the fabric type and style for a man of his stature.
At the fitting the following week, the five feet nothing tailor had looked over his spectacles and quoted over one thousand pounds for the full navy pin-stripe suit. Oliver had baulked at the price at first, but as he strolled down Whitehall approaching Downing Street, he felt comfortable with his choice.
His dress sense had been influenced from an early age, when he was sent away to Boarding School. As an eight-year-old, he hated the heavy corduroy shorts, tie, blazer and cap that never quite fitted, but had grown to love the feeling of self-importance that came from dressing well.
Making several daily journeys from his office in Westminster to The House, the weight and durability of the cloth was important, to ensure the air continued to flow to those difficult to reach parts. A blend of wool and lycra exhibited class with practicality. The black leather brogues completed the look and he felt armed and ready for the business of the day.
“Mornin’ Mr Montague-Pelham” said the Policeman on the gate.
“…and what a beautiful morning it is too Constable…” he replied, turning the corner into Parliament Square.
He walked past the cluster of iconic statues of political figures – Churchill, Lincoln, Mandela — set high on their plinths. It was too early for tourists to interrupt their imaginary conversation, Oliver mused. Their careers spanned several hundred years of historic events, so there was lots to discuss amongst themselves, before the crowds arrived. He nodded in respect as he passed the bronze sculpture of the great Englishman in classic pose, with hunched shoulders leaning on his cane. He crossed the road to enter via the Carriage Gates.
Today’s business was a mixture of Debates, Select Committees and this evening’s vote in support of the Government’s latest Bill. With a tiny overall majority, the Whips had been insistent on a full show of support, so it made sense to combine his appearance with his main purpose this evening.
When he had finally voted, he left the Chamber and changed into his second pair of made-to-measure trousers that were folded neatly in his office.
Even though this Tory old boy was struggling to heat his Grade II listed Town House with views across Berkeley Square, it seemed natural to pay the extra money for his comfortable daily attire. It enabled him to debate with confidence, sit and stand in the Chamber without creasing and deliver a sophisticated performance to his peers.
The Terrance Moleskin Navy Chinos softened his appearance but still looked smart with the jacket; it was important he made the right impression at dinner.
After all, it wasn’t every day he met informally with the Chair of the 1922 Committee, to discuss his next play for the top job.