Andy McSmith's Diary: Ukip now has a ‘front bench’ – just don’t try to sit on it

Did you know that Ukip has something called a “front bench”? Well, it has – and over the past two days, Nigel Farage has been conducting what his people grandly call a “reshuffle” to overcome the idea he runs the whole show single-handedly, and to give the party a more modern finish.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Ruffled ermine as David Cameron pays for overlooking the Lords in last week's reshuffle

David Cameron has had to soothe the ruffled ermine of outraged peers by promising a seat in his Cabinet for their leader, Baroness Stowell, if the Conservatives win the general election.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Try as you might, you can’t keep Goodman down

Helen Goodman, Labour’s shadow media minister, is in trouble again. Last time, it was for not knowing where she was; this time, it was for putting out a sweeping insult of all the women Tory MPs promoted by David Cameron in his latest reshuffle.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Scowling Speaker John Bercow and the Anglo-Saxon epithet

One of the saving graces of the House of Commons used to be that while MPs might behave badly towards each other, they at least had respect for the office of the Speaker. That took a dive during Michael Martin’s mishandling of the MPs’ expenses crisis, and hit a new low today when John Bercow was openly accused of driving a popular parliamentary officer into early retirement.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Jonathan Hill for Brussels. But which Jonathan Hill?

Lord Hill is best known as the minister who once went into the Prime Minister’s office intending to resign, but spoke so softly that David Cameron did not hear, and so he kept him on. So whether he meant to accept the post of European Commissioner can only be guessed: perhaps he turned it down, sotto voce, and the Prime Minister thought he was saying yes.

Andy McSmith's Diary: A tale of two MPs – and how honest doubt trumped tub-thumping

If Boris Johnson wants a Commons seat not far from his London home, the ideal berth is now available. John Randall, the bird-loving MP for Uxbridge, owner of the finest beard on the Tory benches, has announced that he is quitting Parliament at the next election.

Mr Hamilton said: ‘I apologise unreservedly to Allan Rogers. It was an inadvertent slip of the tongue.’

Andy McSmith's Diary: Ukip's Neil Hamilton left embarrassed after he claimed that a former MP visited bondage clubs on BBC Newsnight

The party's deputy chairman has since apologised 'unreservedly' to Allan Rogers

Andy McSmith's Diary: Was Harriet Harman discriminated against for being useless?

Damian McBride, the former Labour spin doctor sometimes referred to as McPoison, was thought to have gained an inner calm while working for the Catholic charity Cafod, a job he recently left ahead of the appearance of a paperback version of his annoyingly readable memoirs. Today, though, he blew a fuse. What set him off was the news that Labour’s deputy leader, Harriet Harman, was implicitly accusing McBride’s old boss, Gordon Brown, of sexism.

Andy McSmith's Diary: What’s in a name? Well, only about 4,400 miles...

You have to feel some sympathy for Chuka Umunna. Normally so calm and so sharp, he is being talked up as one of the Labour shadow cabinet’s star performers – and then he goes and mangles a word one day, and everyone is laughing at him.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Top-table Guido fails to practise what he preached

How strange to see the name of Paul Staines, otherwise known as the blogger Guido Fawkes, on the guest list among the billionaires, oligarchs and Cabinet ministers at the Tories’ fund raising summer party, obtained by the Bureau for Investigative Journalism. The Leveson Inquiry was warned against such fraternisation during one its hearings, three years ago. “Senior politicians, editors and proprietors mix freely, all too easily,” their witness said.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Tory’s think-tank attack is not such a bright idea

Ann Leslie, the 73-year-old former Daily Mail columnist, reminds me that six years ago she revealed in her memoirs how she was once ambushed in a bedroom by the film star David Niven. After writing that, she received a reader’s letter – unpublishable until now – from a woman who had suffered a similar experience at the hands of Rolf Harris.

Ben Duncan is a Green councillor in Brighton

Andy McSmith's Diary: Brighton Green Ben Duncan apologises for 'hired killers' tweet on Armed Forces Day

Ben Duncan, a Green councillor in Brighton, has apologised, two days after the event, for tweeting “Armed Forces Day has certainly brought the hired killers onto the streets of Brighton today. Hard to explain to my son!”

Andy McSmith's Diary: And Michael Fabricant thought he’d be safe in the Commons...

After that highly publicised affair last week when the Tory MP Michael Fabricant tweeted that he might like to punch my colleague Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in the throat, she was in the Commons on Wednesday evening when who should she encounter but the man himself. “I’m on a commission which is chaired by Harriet Harman, on older women. We had finished the meeting; they were all running for a seven o’clock vote. I was coming down the stairs when there he was,” she said.

Gordon Brown: admission

Andy McSmith's Diary: BBC’s mixed messages led me to Westeros and Essos

John Birt, the former Director-General of the BBC, expounded a theory of television journalism which his colleague Peter Jay called the “mission to explain”. Today, whoever was operating their news app seems to be on a mission to mystify, as users twice received a weird message, which included the information that there will be “No nudity in latest episode of Game of Thrones!!!” and that “Push sucks! Pull blows!” It was followed by another message, apologising for the previous two: a test message was posted in error.

Andy McSmith's Diary: The honourable member for Riyadh Central

Daniel Kawczynski, Tory MP for Shrewsbury, has distinctive views on the Middle East, in which he takes a keen interest. He once told the Commons that the best man to unify Libya would be Crown Prince Mohammed el-Senussi, great nephew and heir of King Idris, who was overthrown in 1969. He is also a friend and admirer of President Assad’s cousin Ribal al-Assad, who has lived in London since a family feud forced his blood-soaked father to  leave Syria.

i Newspaper
 
TheIPaper
The Independent around the web
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

HR Manager - HR Generalist / Sole in HR

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - HR Generalis...

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - People Change - Lond...

HR Manager - Milton Keynes - £50,000 + package

£48000 - £50000 per annum + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Shared...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?