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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Conservative peer and multimillionaire Lord Michael Ashcroft

Andy McSmith's Diary: Ashcroft makes monumental £100,000 bid for the Edstone

Lord Ashcroft tweeted that if Labour were to auction the eight foot six inch high menhir, he would start the bidding at £100,000

Labour leadership contender Andy Burnham addresses delegates at the annual conference of the GMB union in Dublin

Labour leadership contest: Andy Burnham jeered by union members at hustings

All five potential candidates were on stage at the GMB's annual conference

Outspoken politician George Galloway

Andy McSmith's Diary: 1987 was a 'gorgeous' year for politics – and tabloid gossip

The year marked George Galloway's arrival in Parliament as a Labour MP

Ed Balls, left, and Jack Straw have both been omitted from the peerage list

Andy McSmith's Diary: Ed Balls and Jack Straw off the Labour peerage list

Straw would have been in line before being embarrassed by a sting

David Cameron scraped a majority last month – a feat unlikely to be repeated

The Independent guide to the UK constitution: How is the right to govern conferred?

The unwritten rules that decide who has the right to govern us

The fact remains that, in our liberal democracy, we do believe that citizens have unalienable rights

The Independent Guide to the UK Constitution: What everyone should know about the most explosive political issue of our time

The UK’s democratic liberties are the envy of the world. They are also precarious. We have no written constitution, and the unwritten traditions on which we rely instead are increasingly being called into question. Human rights, the monarchy, Europe, the sovereignty of Parliament, the formation of governments – are there any first principles on which we can agree? On the eve of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, Andy McSmith kicks off a week-long series on a subject of vital national importance

MP for Doncaster North Kevin Hughes (left) and Geoff Brown owner of Glentworth brewery enjoy a pint of Glentworth Brewery's Danum Goldon on the terrace at The House of Commons

Charles Kennedy death: Why MPs are still in denial over their drinking culture

Kennedy's passing highlights how easily politicians succumb to alcohol

Treasury minister Anna Soubry, right, did not think much of Alex Salmond's speech, calling out to him to get a move on

Andy McSmith's Diary: Salmond should mind his language around Anna Soubry

If Salmond wants to bully women into silence, I can only suggest that he looks for a softer target, because Soubry can give as good as she gets

The SNP’s Angus Robertson had the privilege of asking questions as the leader of the third party

Prime Minister's Questions: David Cameron avoids them and asks his own instead

The first PMQs since the general election was a noisy affair, with some notable absentees

Grant Shapps

Andy McSmith's Diary: Grant Shapps misses his chance to shine on first outing

Shapps then had to leave the front bench in the Commons, where he had sat for 30 minutes without saying a word

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They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
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Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
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Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
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Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea