The feral beast: Lord Rennard's party buddy
Sunday 24 May 2009
Just as well Ed Stourton wasn't on duty for the Today programme on Friday when Lord Rennard stepped down as the Lib Dems' chief executive for "health reasons", nothing to do with his £40,000 expenses on a second home when he has a house two miles from Westminster.
Stourton might have had to declare an interest, for both are members of the Stockwell Park Residents' Association, an enclave of conservation-area homeowners in an otherwise down-at-heel neighbourhood. The association holds raucous fancy dress parties and safari dinners, enthusiastically supported by both men.
'Mail' swells Lib Dems' coffers
Fans of Vince Cable may feel uncomfortable about him making a shilling from the Mail on Sunday, for whom he writes a weekly column. In fact, he refuses to take any payment for his troubles, instead he has the MoS donate his fee to the Twickenham Lib Dems. Cable is much admired for being a member of the awkward squad, so no doubt he enjoys forcing the MoS to write a weekly cheque to the third party.
Public schoolboys' tiff
How ungallant. Instead of welcoming the Standard's newby theatre critic, Henry Hitchings, the FT's man in the stalls, Ian Shuttleworth, gives him a drubbing. His crime? To have gone to Eton and Oxford which is a bit rich coming from Shutters, the product of top Belfast school "Inst" and a Cambridge alumnus. Perhaps he should raise his concerns with FT editor Lionel Barber (Dulwich College and Teddy Hall, Oxford).
Winnett and Brogan: a dream team
It has been The Telegraph's finest hour, but the star of the story, we now know, is Robert Winnett, deputy political editor. Whistleblower John Wick yesterday revealed it was Winnett who was entrusted with exclusive access to study the disk before the paper published. With Benedict Brogan, (above), the accomplished and newly poached chief political commentator, they make quite a team!
Lobby hacks still undeclared
After my revelation that several lobby journalists have failed to declare extra incomes on the register of parliamentary interests, the Commons registrar tells me the offence could lead to the withdrawal of their passes. None of those named and shamed last week, including Andrew Neil, Robin Oakley, Melissa Kite and Andrew Gimson, has yet corrected their entries, nor has any yet been punished. There is no shame in correcting mistakes: last week I wrongly identified Andrew Alexander of the Mail as working for ITV – they are, in fact, different people.
Not the end for Waterhouse
Anyone reading the Daily Mail would be forgiven for thinking Keith Waterhouse had died, after two obituary-style pieces bidding him farewell. In fact, he has just stopped writing his column. Why no farewell piece from Waterhouse, nor even a couple of quotes? Although he is ill, he had no desire to stop writing. We wish him a speedy recovery.
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