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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TV debates Sketch: Jeremy Paxman emerges as the night's big winner. Oh how we miss him

The image that lingers on in the mind is Ed Miliband declaring, “Hell, yes, I’m tough enough,” putting on his best “tough enough” face. It was towards the end of the gruelling last 18 minutes of the great television non-debate.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Respect MP George Galloway needs to work on his swing

George Galloway – never one to understate his  own achievements – was heard on BBC Radio’s Today news programme talking up his victory in  the Bradford West by-election. “We successfully won the biggest swing of the 20th century on mainland Britain,” he proclaimed.

Ken Clarke is not about to wave goodbye to Parliament

Andy McSmith's Diary: Who's staying and who's going - does anyone know?

Some people are having problems keeping track of which MPs are standing down this week, and which are fighting on.

The Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan

Andy McSmith's Diary: The paranormal past of Nicky Morgan’s publisher

Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, has had a good idea: she has written a children’s activity book about the civil war in Loughborough, where she is the local MP.

Andy McSmith's Diary: George Osborne's Agincourt gag costs him historian's vote

Charles VI was mad, genuinely insane and incapable of governing France

Andy McSmith's Diary: How the tone of George Osborne's trumpet tax was rapidly remixed

Never in the history of British fiscal policy has there been a tax that came and went faster than the trumpet tax. It was there in the morning: by the afternoon it was gone, leaving nothing but a cacophony of puns.

Andy McSmith's Diary: David Cameron's kitchen stink could backfire on him

David Cameron must think the “two kitchens” story is doing Ed Miliband serious damage, because he managed to work no fewer than five jokes about it into Prime Minister’s Questions.

Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)

Coalition, Channel 4, TV review: An absorbing dress rehearsal for the back room deals ahead

Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown as he did on stage. This is the kinder version

Andy McSmith's Diary: Chris Grayling the worst Lord Chancellor for 342 years? No, worse

“Most judges, lawyers, probation staff, prison officers, victims, court staff and people denied access to justice believe that you have been the worst Lord Chancellor since Lord Shaftesbury in 1673,” Chris Grayling was told by his Labour shadow Sadiq Khan, as they faced each other in the Commons for the last time before the election.

Andy McSmith's Diary: A princess-prohibiting paperwork problem

With about a month left before the Duchess of Cambridge is due to have her second child, the 2013 Succession to the Crown Act is still not in force.

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Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing