Andy McSmith's Diary: Another fine mess caused by political donations

Members of Tony Blair’s political fan club did not disappear when their champion, David Miliband, lost the contest for the Labour leadership. They remained grouped around a think-tank called Progress, bankrolled by Lord Sainsbury, who was the party’s biggest individual donor in the Blair years.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Love costs - IDS imposes a new ‘bedroom tax’ for St Valentine’s Day

Friday, as everyone knows, is St Valentine’s Day, a day for exchanging doe-eyed love messages and looking indulgently upon young lovers. That is unless you work for the nation’s top party pooper, Iain Duncan Smith, whose department has put out an extraordinary statement warning benefit claimants that if they fall in love on Valentine’s Day, they must tell IDS or one of his minions, or risk running foul of the law.

Andy McSmith's Diary: When it comes to MP’s allegiances, where there’s smoke, there’s fire

Among the most outspoken opponents of the proposed ban on smoking in cars in the presence of children is the Tory MP Dame Angela Watkinson, who protests that it cannot be enforced. “Are we going to have smoking police weaving in and out of traffic, looking in car windows?” she exclaimed in the Commons.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Kevin Pietersen, halfwit or genius? Well Piers Morgan is the man who should know

Here is something to cheer up Kevin Pietersen as he contemplates the end of his career as an England cricketer: David Cameron thinks he is good at “tonking”. Speaking on BBC Lancashire, the Prime Minister declared himself to be “an enormous fan”, adding: “Some of my most enjoyable times have been watching him tonking the ball all over the park.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Enervated Speaker does his best, but Sally Bercow appears to do her worst again

John Bercow was in a funny mood as he presided over the Commons today. Only minutes into the session, he became impatient as the barrister-turned-Tory MP, Robert Neill, asked a question that ran to about 90 words. “If he was paid by the word when he was practising at the Bar, he must have become a very rich man indeed,” the Speaker said.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Trident fleet will cost us billions, but exactly who is it supposed to keep at bay?

While politicians agonise over the size of the Government’s debt, one of the most expensive publicly funded projects in recent years is quietly getting under way.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Sir Malcolm Bruce - so many years in Parliament, so little of interest to say

Somebody should compile a compendium of “Interesting Things Sir Malcom Bruce Has Said in his 30 years in Parliament”. It would be a labour of love, a challenge, involving hours and hours of research, but not many results.

Andy McSmith's Diary: The case of the MP, the police chief and the missing personal apology

As if the police had not already inflicted enough trouble on themselves with the plebgate saga, a Chief Constable had to ‘fess up that his force did not understand the law that protects an MP’s right to speak freely.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Aidan Burley is not anti-Semitic - he's just stupid and very convincing

Aidan Burley, the Tory MP who bought a Nazi uniform for a friend to wear at a stag party, is presumably relieved by the conclusions of a report by Lord Gold, a Tory peer who was asked by the party to look into the affair. He concluded Mr Burley “is not a bad man, still less a racist or an anti-Semite” but he is stupid.

Andy McSmith's Diary: I’m sorry, but the next (possible) rector won’t be able to see you now

Edward Snowden, the US intelligence leaker, may soon be filling a ceremonial role in Britain’s academic life. Students at Glasgow University have embarked on a campaign to have him elected as their rector.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Conservative candidate’s racial sensitivity falls flat as a pancake

“One thing I have become very sensitive about is this accusation that Conservatives are somehow racist,” Edward de Mesquita, who is standing as a Conservative candidate in West Hampstead, in London, told the Camden New Journal. “Conservatives are not racist. So many of the Conservatives have foreign wives, after all.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Music bonus on BBC show as Nick Robinson's iPad blasts out Queen hit live on air

Nick Robinson, the BBC’s political editor, had an embarrassing moment on air today. During the Daily Politics programme, Labour’s Caroline Flint was railing against bonuses for bankers that are larger than their annual salaries when suddenly a burst of music filled the studio. It was coming from Robinson’s iPad, which he hastily switched off.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Jacob Rees-Mogg’s actions speak even louder than his words

Speeches in the House of Commons by the Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg are an erudite comedy turn. As MPs debated the European Union (Approvals) Bill (Lords), which writes into British law two draft regulations passed by the Council of the European Union, only he thought it necessary to read into the official record part of what one of the regulations actually said.

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