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 Lib Dem Conference Diary: Take note - one item that won’t be saved for the nation

The famous note that the outgoing Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne, left behind as the Labour government packed up in 2010 is not going to be bequeathed to the nation. Byrne assumed that he was handing over to his former Tory shadow, Phil Hammond, whom he knew well enough to write him a jokey memo saying: “Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid that there is no money.”

Boris Johnson couldn't remember the name of the Tory candidate in the Clacton by-election, Giles Watling

Clacton by-election: Boris forgets the Tory candidate's name (which is Giles Watling)

61-year-old councillor will be in the fray on Thursday after Douglas Carswell's defection to Ukip

Jo Swinson, MP for East Dunbartonshire, addresses the Liberal Democrat Autumn conference on Monday

Liberal Democrat conference: Swinson could be sole survivor of endangered species

Unlike Conservative or Labour MPs, Lib Dem MPs are all white and always have been (with the notable exception of Parmjit Singh Gill, MP for Leicester South for less than a year in 2004-05). Next year, they could also be all male.

Vince Cable and Nick Clegg enjoy a drink at the Queens Head Pub

Booze, food and stress: Majority of MPs live unhealthy lives, survey shows

A fifth of female MPs, and slightly fewer men, exceed the Department of Health's guidelines for what a safe weekly alcohol intake

Lord Prescott has accused Labour of being too timid

John Prescott attacks 'timid' Ed Miliband as shock poll puts Tories ahead of Labour

Trade unionists, wealthy peers, party grandees –  the leader is under attack from all sides

The new RMT general secretary Mick Cash is a very different character from his predecessor

Mick Cash interview: Disillusioned with Labour, RMT union chief plots a new party for the left

The new general secretary is a very different character to Bob Crow, but that doesn’t mean any change in strategy, he tells Andy McSmith

Liberal Democrat Conference Diary: No RSVPs needed for this select bunch of absentees

As the Liberal Democrats meet for what could be their last annual conference as a party of government, it is perhaps a time to remember absent ex-comrades. There is no sign of Lord Oakeshott, Vince Cable’s old chum, who left the party this year after being accused of plotting to oust Nick Clegg.

Jonathan Hill: Grey eminence who has made Brussels see red

Profile: A charming, low-profile ex-lobbyist, the Tory peer has been ferociously criticised since his appointment to a top EU job

An emotional Margaret Thatcher at the 1984 Conservative Party Conference in Brighton on the day after the IRA bombing of the Grand Hotel

Margaret Thatcher Archive reveals former prime minister's own War of the Roses

Margaret Thatcher accidentally gave permission to two separate rose growers to name flowers after her

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.

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Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect