Andy McSmith's Diary: All becomes clear in the library of Osama bin Laden

One of bin Laden's books in particular offers an interesting insight into what Jihadis think of Britain's political landscape

Andy McSmith's Diary: 'Flashy' new Culture Secretary John Whittingdale breaks his radio silence

John Whittingdale has ventured out of the office in his new guise as Culture Secretary for the first time, showing up at the British Library, which has just received £9.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to preserve the nation’s sounds. There he listened to a fragile lacquer disc recording of a speech Noel Coward gave in 1947 on the first night of his play Peace in Our Time.

Ferocious: Margaret Hodge, chair of the PAC

Andy McSmith's Diary: Hard-hitting Margaret Hodge will be a tough act to follow

The chair of the Public Accounts Committee has decided to quit

Raheem Kassam

Andy McSmith's Diary: I’m proud of my part in the 'worst journalism ever'

An email to savour from an (ex-)advisor to Nigel Farage

Andy McSmith's Diary: At last! A naked ambition to put Iain Dale to shame

All credit to the political commentator Dan Hodges, who says he will carry through his promise to run naked down Whitehall wearing a Nigel Farage mask and singing “Land of Hope and Glory”, which he vouchsafed to do if Ukip scored more than 6 per cent in the general election. On legal advice, he will not be entirely naked, you may be relieved to know.

Andy McSmith's Election Diary: The truth about a Tory-SNP pact

A document has been unearthed that proves that the SNP secretly approached the Tories to do a deal after the general election. No matter what Nicola Sturgeon may say, they were anticipating if not hoping for a Conservative victory. The price they demanded for co-operation was a free vote on devolution.

Andy McSmith's Election Diary: Gaffes are killing the radio star

To soften the blow for Michael Gove when he was moved out of his job as Education Secretary into the non-Cabinet role of Chief Whip, Downing Street spun that he would be the “Minister for the Today programme”.

Andy McSmith: Ed Miliband's unlikely supporters

Leaflets have started dropping through letter boxes in Doncaster North, urging people to vote for their local Labour candidate, Ed Miliband. They feature endorsements from local electors. Community activist Tony Sockett says “I am supporting Ed Miliband on 7 May because I know he is committed to backing the next generation.” This is not wholly surprising, because Tony Sockett used to be a Labour councillor. Retired midwife Cynthia Bunting declares on the same leaflet that she is confident that Ed Miliband will tackle the problems facing the NHS. Again, no surprise. She is a party member whose photograph appeared in the local paper alongside John Prescott after a fundraising dinner in Doncaster.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Respect MP George Galloway needs to work on his swing

George Galloway – never one to understate his  own achievements – was heard on BBC Radio’s Today news programme talking up his victory in  the Bradford West by-election. “We successfully won the biggest swing of the 20th century on mainland Britain,” he proclaimed.

Andy McSmith's Diary: How the tone of George Osborne's trumpet tax was rapidly remixed

Never in the history of British fiscal policy has there been a tax that came and went faster than the trumpet tax. It was there in the morning: by the afternoon it was gone, leaving nothing but a cacophony of puns.

Andy McSmith's Diary: David Cameron's kitchen stink could backfire on him

David Cameron must think the “two kitchens” story is doing Ed Miliband serious damage, because he managed to work no fewer than five jokes about it into Prime Minister’s Questions.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Chris Grayling the worst Lord Chancellor for 342 years? No, worse

“Most judges, lawyers, probation staff, prison officers, victims, court staff and people denied access to justice believe that you have been the worst Lord Chancellor since Lord Shaftesbury in 1673,” Chris Grayling was told by his Labour shadow Sadiq Khan, as they faced each other in the Commons for the last time before the election.

Andy McSmith's Diary: A good day to bury unpalatable decisions

It was Take Out the Trash Day today, when the Government delivers so many announcements that unwelcome news is likely to be buried under the volume. There were no fewer than 42 written announcements from ministers.

Andy McSmith's Diary: After Esther McVey, it was Chris Bryant's turn to get a rough ride from Speaker John Bercow

John Bercow has apologised for the quip in which he likened the Employment minister, Esther McVey, to a washing machine. He was pulled up today by the Tory MP Heather Wheeler who suggested that it was not the sort of thing the Speaker should be saying to a female minister.

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