Hartlepool's banana fudge

"Now I'm the king of the swingers, oh, the jungle VIP. I've reached the top and had to stop and that's what's botherin' me.."

- Extract from "The Monkey Song" in Disney's Jungle Book

Remember H'Angus the Monkey, the seven-foot pantomime primate who swung to power as Hartlepool's mayor in May on a manifesto of giving free bananas to schoolchildren?

The Diary was passing through the banana republic this week and decided to check up on the monkey man. Immediately after his election to the pound;53,000-a-year post, H'Angus, aka 28-year-old former call-centre worker Stuart Drummond, outraged many by discarding his monkey outfit, donning a sharp suit and letting it be known that he wanted to be called by his real name. Even worse, he also started fudging on the free banana promise.

One hundred days into his term, how much progress has Drummond made on the banana issue? "Not much. There is no money," he admitted, before resorting to a political sleight of hand that even fellow Hartlepool politico Peter Mandelson would be proud of: "If you read carefully what was said at the time, it was H'Angus the Monkey who promised that, not me."

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