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: Good news for all those gay couples about to wed - Ukip recognises you

Ukip had two “unique selling points” until recently: one was its wish to pull out of the EU, the other was its obdurate opposition to gay marriage.

Guinness, normally a generous sponsor of the annual march, has withdrawn its support for the event

Andy McSmith's Diary: Rupert Murdoch takes on the gay 'bullies' over Guinness boycott of New York Saint Patrick's Day parade

Rupert Murdoch seems to have had one of his funny turns as he awoke on the morning of Saint Patrick’s Day. The Ancient Order of Hibernians, who for many years have organised the annual march through New York, have again refused to let gays and lesbians march under their own banner, on the grounds that to do so would offend their Catholic heritage.

Sir David Higgins’ report recommends extending phase one of HS2 beyond Birmingham to Crewe

HS2 fast-tracked to put the North first by Sir David Higgins - and to start as soon as possible

First phase of high-speed railway’s construction will extend beyond Birmingham, while ministers are told the only way of keeping costs down is to start building now

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and Chancellor George Osborne appear on the Andrew Marr Show

The Budget 2014: Balls to Osborne - I trust you with my son, but not the British economy as opponents hold brief backstage truce

Chancellor babysits opposite number’s young son in the ‘green room’ at the BBC

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls, right, has suggested that Wayne Rooney’s reported £300,000 a week wages should not be controlled as his talent attracts the high salary

Ed Balls’ view is that Wayne Rooney’s worth his £300,000 a week

Wayne Rooney’s reported £300,000 a week wages should not be controlled as his talent attracts the high salary, shadow chancellor Ed Balls has suggested.

Tony Benn at home in February 2013

Tony Benn tributes: Politicians of every hue pay respects to ‘true political warrior’

Andy McSmith finds universal admiration in Westminster for a man of conviction who divided the left

The veteran politician Tony Benn in 1970

Tony Benn dies: His leadership hopes were foiled by a selection process that favoured compromise

There was a time in the late 1970s and early 1980s when the world looked very different, and people took seriously the possibility that Tony Benn could lead the Labour Party and become prime minister.

May 1998: Tony Benn smokes his pipe during a conference at the Marina Leisure Centre in Great Yarmouth

Tony Benn dies: Warm in his friendships, harsh in his judgements - and blessed with an obstinacy that was magnificent

The Tony Benn I knew was an intriguing, complex and towering figure - and I shall miss him

Andy McSmith's Diary: Len McCluskey’s a dyed-in-the-wool Union man – Soviet, that is

Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, has sagely reminded us that they did not have crises like the present Ukraine situation back in the days of the USSR. “When it was the Soviet Union, Russians and Ukrainians mixed happily together and so it is regrettable what’s happened at the moment,” he tells the current edition of The House magazine, the trade journal for parliamentarians.

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice