Is Sam Cam a refugee from Eastenders? Only if you believe the disgraced former Tory treasurer

Have you ever wondered what the good and the great say to each other over dinner?

A startling piece of gossip perhaps, the wit of a Dorothy Parker (eg 'Take me or leave me; or, as is the usual order of things, both'); the inside track on whether or not Israel will flatten Iran's nuclear plants this summer; or a stockmarket tip guaranteed to fund a life of luxurious indolence.

None of these appears to be the case.

And for that we are indebted to the short-lived Tory treasurer Peter Cruddas, who for a cool £250,000 was prepared to fix you a cosy dinner with Sam and Dave.

Corrupt: Peter Cruddas - the Tory Party treasurer caught in a newspaper sting offering meetings - said that the beneficial effect of such soirees was 'awesome'

Corrupt: Peter Cruddas - the Tory Party treasurer caught in a newspaper sting offering meetings - said that the beneficial effect of such soirees was 'awesome'

Cruddas, a financial spread-betting magnate, raised on an east London council estate, has (had) a mouth as wide as the Thames estuary.

Among his demotic pen portraits is the observation that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and once the world's richest man, is a "little nerd" and a "bloody nightmare".

But it is his sophisticated dinner table conversation with Samantha Cameron, a woman who wisely keeps her thoughts to herself if she possibly can, that caught the eye in last weekend's Sunday Times.

The Downton Abbey moment came at Chequers, where "wide boy" Cruddas found himself seated next to Mrs Cameron, herself no stranger to country house parties after her upbringing on the 300-acre estate of Normanby Hall in Lincolnshire.

So what was his opening gambit to the fragrant wife of the PM? A spread-betting certainty? A compliment on her designer dress? Praise for her and her husband's fortitude in the face of the habitual ignorance and cruelty of the press?

Try again. 'I said to her,'Do you want a ruby murray,' and she said, 'Yeah, go on then, I'll have one.' So I went up and got her a ruby murray - curry.'

I have to say I find this a little hard to believe. Not that Mr Cruddas asked Samantha if she fancied a ruby (that bit seems all too believable) but that she replied as if she had just walked off the set of Eastenders.

Do prime ministers' wives talk like this? Would Lady Dorothy Macmillan, say, or Norma Major, or even Cherie Blair, have been quite so enthusiastic about consuming a chicken madras?

One conclusion is that standards of conversation around the Chequers dinner table have slipped in recent years.

Another is that Mr Cruddas is not an entirely reliable witness. May be the rest of his beery braggadocio should also be taken with a pinch of salt.

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