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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 May, 2005, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
Portillo's tips for ousted Twigg
Former schools minister Stephen Twigg before losing his seat

Michael Portillo has offered advice on life after politics to ousted schools minister Stephen Twigg - who famously displaced him in Labour's 1997 victory.

Mr Twigg has in turn lost the Enfield Southgate seat to Tory David Burrowes.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Mr Portillo handed out some tips on how to get by without perks like the ministerial car.

"Get used to public transport as soon as possible. At first people on trains and buses will stare but you will soon get used to it," he says.

Political rollercoaster

"The empty diary is a real problem," he goes on, adding that replying to letters of condolence will only occupy the first two weeks after losing the seat.

Mr Portillo, who later became the Conservative MP for Kensington and Chelsea but stood down at this election, warns that Mr Twigg will also miss his secretary and his office - but at least he can use his severance money from the Commons to take a holiday.

Michael Portillo
Mr Portillo was famously defeated by Mr Twigg in Labour's 1997 win

"Then there will be the matter of employment. I'm afraid that ex-MPs are not too much in demand but you at least had a defeat like mine that was very high profile."

This means plenty of opportunities for radio and television interviews talking about defeat, a subject the British public loves, Mr Portillo says.

"You will feel resentful that your political career has been cut off in its prime and you will be wanting to clamber back on the political rollercoaster but please forget Enfield Southgate. Move on.

"Find some nice safe Labour seat where they weigh rather than count the vote. What about a by-election? It worked for me."

In the meantime, Mr Twigg should savour the "wonderful, stress-free life" outside politics, Mr Portillo concludes, before leaping back into the fray.



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