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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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.”

Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,

Celebrity Trekkies: From Alex Salmond to Barack Obama

He won't be First Minister for much longer but could Alex Salmond – lifelong Trekkie and Starfleet Officer – make a more dramatic exit than expected?
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Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain