Andy McSmith

Andy McSmith is a senior reporter at The Independent. He has vast experience in political journalism and has also appeared on documentaries for BBC Radio 4.

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Andy McSmith's Tory Party Conference Diary: Poor old Patrick O’Flynn’s been done up like a kipper

Generations of political students will be grateful to Ukip for publishing the full texts of all speeches from its recent conference on its website. Every golden word uttered by Nigel Farage, Douglas Carswell, Mark Reckless and the “lesser kipper” frontbenchers is there.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson holds a brick as he addresses delegates on the third day of the annual British Conservative Party conference in Birmingham

Boris Johnson talks to bricks and raises Conservative Party conference spirits: 'We'll eat Ukip for breakfast'

His speech showed once again that even if Johnson is not the deepest thinker in modern politics, he is surely the one who tells the best jokes

Andy McSmith's Conference Diary: Cameron summons up spirit of Witney to defeat Reckless

Conservatives may be giving up on Clacton, but are fighting to hold on to Rochester and Strood

Deirdre Kelly, known as White Dee speaks at a Policy Exchange fringe meeting at the Conservative party conference
David Cameron listens to a final speech by former Foreign Secretary William Hague before he resigns as a Member of Parliament on day one of the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham

Conservative Conference: Did William Hague's farewell speech really move David Cameron to tears?

What the ‘real’ Prime Minister felt, only he can tell

Brooks Newmark

Conservative conference diary: Brooks Newmark can thank his lucky stars for the allure of Ukip

'He owes Mark Reckless a crate of champagne,' says one conference veteran. 'Normally this story would run for days'

Andy McSmith's Diary: It’s not easy having principles when free drinks are on offer

Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper group, News UK, has been reaching out to the Labour Party. During the conference that’s just ended, it sponsored a marquee immediately outside the conference hall, where politicians and hacks could mingle amid the smell of good coffee. It also hosted a party to which every Labour MP was invited. Some accepted, some did not reply, but a tiny few – possibly only two – wrote back saying they refused on principle to accept hospitality from the company at the centre of the hacking scandal. One refusenik was Chris Bryant.

Nigel Farage backs Europe (in the Ryder Cup, that is)

Ukip leader strolls around golf course making series of bad jokes in the video

Andy McSmith's Labour Conference Diary: John Prescott’s selective memory shows Chuka is no chum

Calling Chuka Umunna “Chumbawamba” was not a friendly act. On the face of it, Lord Prescott was making a self-deprecating remark about the difficulty of pronouncing an unfamiliar name when he told the comic Matt Forde, on the Labour conference fringe, “I keep making a mistake of calling him Chumbawamba so I get into all sorts of bloody trouble.”

Andy McSmith's Labour Conference Diary: Ed Miliband co-opts Gareth, Xiomara, Josephine (and a few others)

Politicians love to flavour their big speeches with tales of how they met and spoke to actual members of the public – but even by contemporary standards, Ed Miliband’s conference speech was unusually well stocked with cameo appearances by what they call “real people.”

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