Wells Street Journal: The award, the Webb and the wardrobe


Not long ago Royal London director of policy Steve Webb held the high office of minister of state for pensions.

One of the perks afforded high ranking officials is the ability to leave events early without tutting from the audience. Indeed, Webb would often make a speech and then immediately dash for the exit.

However it appears Webb’s new employer has not briefed him about award ceremony decorum expected of mere mortals.

At last week’s Pensions Management Institute dinner he was presented with a lifetime achievement award to loud applause and – true to form – the former MP attempted to make a quick getaway.

Unfortunately for Webb the door he picked wasn’t the exit, but a well-stocked linen cupboard (pictured below).

Cupboard at centre of Webb door confusion

His mistake was made even more obvious by the cheers from nearby tables who wondered whether he was looking for his pet ‘defined ambition’ project or the recently dumped ‘pot follows member’ reforms.

There was a silver lining for the red-faced Lib Dem, however. The after dinner speaker, Formula One legend Tony Jardine, made a series of cringeworthy impressions – including a Japanese WWII soldier – that quickly took the heat off Webb.

Conversation in the bar afterwards centred around whether Jardine’s performance pipped the infamous Bobby Davro from 2010.