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 Diary: Lord Browne tries to refuel ministers bored by boards

Attempts to get the civil services to be more business-like have hit a snag: the new-style board meetings that are meant to drive efficiency are so boring that even junior ministers with an eye on promotion have been avoiding them.

Siegfried Sassoon was sent to Craiglockhart Hospital to be treated for ‘shell shock’ following his protest

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: ‘Mad Jack’ takes on the War Office

Siegfried Sassoon was decorated for his courage. Then, dramatically, he refused to fight. Andy McSmith on an extraordinary episode of wilful defiance

Andy McSmith's Diary: Tory tea-tree salesman is a shining example of longevity

David Tredinnick, MP for Bosworth, is not the smartest Conservative there ever was. In the 1990s, he is reported to have lost £750,000 as a Lloyds underwriter, but he is open to ideas about healing the sick. He is the first, I believe, to draw Parliament’s attention to tea tree oil.

Andy McSmith's Sketch: Give way road safety, here comes the racy Godfrey Bloom

With time on his hands, because his public falling out with Nigel Farage has made him an ex-MEP, Godfrey Bloom has taken up cudgels on behalf of motorists who want to drive at speed in built-up areas.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Are Labour’s leaders its worst enemies?

Ed Miliband does not look like a potential prime minister to the public, the former Home Secretary Charles Clarke bluntly let on today. Mr Clarke, who has a book to promote, also thinks that it will be “very difficult” for Labour to win next year’s general election outright.

Andy McSmith's Sketch: Theresa May gives a lesson in six ways not to answer the same question

The serious moment soon passed as MPs reverted to doing what they do best – baiting each other

Andy McSmith's Diary: At least Gordon Brown’s more popular with the press than Jean-Claude Juncker

An appearance by Gordon Brown in the House of Commons press gallery on Monday was an event. Any sighting of the former Prime Minister is an event, because he rarely darkens Parliament’s door these days – so rarely that he opened with a joke about needing a guided tour of the building.

PM threatens snap Ofsted inspections over ‘Trojan Horse’ affair

State school teachers face the prospect of Ofsted coming in without warning to inspect their schools, in the wake of the so-called “Trojan Horse” affair.

Nick Clegg’s attempt to reassert his position with a major speech threatens to be undermined by a call from a senior Liberal Democrat for him to be sacked

Nick Clegg is ‘dead in the water’ and should be sacked, says senior Lib Dem peer Lord Smith

Lib Dem leader will use speech to make it plain he intends to carry on

Someone at the Cabinet Office decided the way to ram home the point was to tell the Scots what £1,400 can buy, with illustrations featuring pieces of Lego

Scottish independence: Government uses Lego to build a case for a No vote

Cabinet Office publishes series of 'awful' pictures showing Scots what the so-called UK dividend of £1,400 can buy

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Day In a Page

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
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam