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Sniffing around the Labour Party conference in Manchester last week, Astragal had the pleasure of bumping in to freshfaced upstart David Miliband.

The recently-appointed Defra top dog, tipped to one day take over as leader of the party, was having a nosey around the RIBA truck, which featured ideas by Manchester schoolchildren for an ecoreplacement for 10 Downing Street. Miliband was amazed the students took just three days to turn out the designs.

'Architects get paid for weeks and weeks for designing something like this, ' he observed.

How they chuckled in the RIBA lorry. Miliband was far cannier when Astragal asked him if he would consider an eco-home if he became PM. He sidestepped that one easily with a bland Defra-based retort. He also turned down the chance to be photographed 'provocatively' next to a photo of a 'green' No.10 door. They're not as daft as they look, these MPs.

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