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Simon Carr

The Independent's parliamentary sketch writer and columnist since 2000, Simon Carr was described by Tony Blair as "the most vicious sketch writer working in Britain today". "Poison," said Charles Clarke. In the 1980s he helped launch The Independent, and was a speech writer for the prime minister of New Zealand from 1992 to 1994. His working principle is "Indignation keeps us young."

The Sketch: Cooper the leader keeps immigration pot boiling

Immigration fiasco at the Home Office – it's one of those typesetters' cliches like "EU deal unravels as markets understand it". The current fiasco probably has a little life left in it, but for connoisseurs it lacks the scope of the famous series some years ago involving the downfall of three ministers with one-armed Romanian roofers being allowed in and foreign murderers, rapists and terrorists being allowed out. World-class scandals they were, with a minister hanging on to her position so tightly that parts of her hand are still attached to the gratis car.

The Sketch: The 'Nowhere Man' returns – with nothing memorable

Tory vignettes from PMQs. Iain Duncan Smith stood at the bar masticating wildly. I hope he was masticating, as the whole lower part of the face was rotating in two different planes and his eyes were shining with some secret knowledge. If I said there was a touch of the Desmond Swayne about him I hope you won't think I'm being rude about Desmond Swayne.

The Sketch: Everything he touched turned to ordure: now he's got his

Thus yesterday, to the House of Lords to see the butt-crack, the builder's bum of the Labour Party, being dignified, elevated, made noble. We all sucked our teeth and said, "Ooh! Big job, that." The ceremony only lasts a few minutes – how could it be long enough, even for the preparatory cleaning?

More headlines

The Sketch: There's one thing we can teach the French: 'results-based'

There is no word for "grandeur" in English. That's what we're up against over here. They have Versailles, we have Buckingham Palace. They have the Louvre, we have the National Gallery. They have the Elysée Palace, we have Downing Street. They have Christine Lagarde, we have (to cheat a bit) Vince Cable.

The Sketch: Order! Order! Commons gets a fresh dose of Bercow

There they all were, a Chamber full of the latest Commons – among their number 232 new ones. Row upon row of them, with their plans, schemes, values and principles. They'd come from all over Britain to Westminster to help make the world a better place.