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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Introducing Rupert, the Tory spy whose cover was blown on a Labour battle bus

Rupert the Young Conservative is not in line to be remembered as one of the great undercover operators of the age. He tried to infiltrate a Labour Party event, posing as a party activist, but overlooked some of the basics of successful spying – such as having a convincing back story and remembering his cover name.

Only 150,000 migrants are registered in classes where English is taught to people for whom it is not their first language

Cutbacks mean migrants are unable to find English classes

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants are unable to get professional help learning English because of government cuts, according to a study of census data and course registrations.

The tower of St Michael's church in Glastonbury. St. Michael ranks among the seven archangels

Ukip's Wells branch in disarray after the 'Glastonbury occult crowd' accused of taking over

Wells candidate and local branch chairman stand down over concerns about party's reputation

Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne

One widow left the Tories more money than all of their membership subscriptions in 2013

The so-called 'Wicked Widow' left nearly £770,000

Labour’s private polls suggest that Ukip is a much bigger threat to the Tories

Labour outspent every other political party during 2013, and still had millions left over

Figures published show that the Labour Party had an income of £33,336,000

The Cuadrilla exploration drilling site in Balcombe, West Sussex. The latest bidding process for shale companies seeking licences to explore for oil and gas has opened

‘Public interest’ will allow fracking on World Heritage sites

Government draws up guidelines for energy companies wanting to frack in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, World Heritage sites and National Parks

Labour have accused the Government of 'turning their backs on victims' of domestic violence after figures showed increasing numbers of perpetrators were getting away without a criminal record. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper will renew a pledge to ban the use of 'slap-on-the-wrist' community resolutions in domestic and sexual violence cases

Violent partners let off with ‘slap on the wrist’ orders, says Labour

Women’s groups say the 'Community Resolution' procedure was never intended to be used for domestic violence

Sepp Blatter reveals Russia as the hosts of the 2018 tournament

World Cup 2018: MPs join Nick Clegg call for Russia to be axed as hosts over shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17

Douglas Alexander, the shadow Foreign Secretary, urges world football’s authority, Fifa, to begin contingency planning

Ed Miliband will launch a campaign including more than a dozen speeches by Shadow Cabinet members over the next five weeks

'Politics should not be an ugly person's showbiz contest', says Ed Miliband as he announces plans for public Prime Minister's questions

Labour leader told Andrew Marr that if he becomes Prime Minister he will hold regular sessions where he takes questions from members of the public

Andy McSmith's Diary: Ukip now has a ‘front bench’ – just don’t try to sit on it

Did you know that Ukip has something called a “front bench”? Well, it has – and over the past two days, Nigel Farage has been conducting what his people grandly call a “reshuffle” to overcome the idea he runs the whole show single-handedly, and to give the party a more modern finish.

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A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments