Andy McSmith's Diary: Parliamentary privilege and the police force that broke the law

Home Secretary Theresa May’s announcement of a public inquiry into undercover operations is not the only embarrassment the police suffered today. Sussex Police has been rebuked for committing a contempt of Parliament.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Being a former PM is expensive work, as Margaret Thatcher knew

Margaret Thatcher made a generous gesture to her predecessors, Jim Callaghan, Edward Heath et al, by acknowledging that an ex-Prime Minister continues to be a public figure for life, having to run an office, make public appearances and answer correspondence. She therefore introduced the public duty costs allowance, which any former Prime Minister can claim.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Britain really is best when it comes to laundering money

We have seen the images of Viktor Yanukovych’s £180m home, his other house in Crimea, his private zoo, and his golf course, and we think this is corruption on a fabulous scale, and yet he is a “rank amateur” compared with some of Russia’s kleptocrats, according to the US fund manager Bill Browder.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Harman’s next problem is a son who’s paid to make mischief online

As if Harriet Harman and her husband, Jack Dromey, have not been through enough lately, trouble may creep up on their family from another direction.

James McAvoy has stopped a play in order to tell someone off for using their mobile phone

Andy McSmith's Diary: You heard it from the horse’s mouth - Ukip can’t change a thing in Europe

Ukip is expected to get its best result ever in May’s elections to the European Parliament, chasing Labour for first place. But those who vote for them ought to know that their success will not make a blind bit of difference, because “they can’t change a thing”.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Could time be up for Peter Bone, the Tory right’s court jester?

Peter Bone, the Tory MP for Wellingborough, has made his mark on Parliament with a running gag about “Mrs Bone”. Her name has been invoked in Parliament so often that it would be tedious to list every mention. One example was when David Cameron returned from a confrontation with other EU leaders in January 2012. Mr Bone told MPs: “I am happy to report that Mrs Bone was singing in the bath yesterday.”

Andy McSmith's Diary: The day that Piers Morgan revealed all to Charlotte Church

As Piers Morgan contemplates his next move, there hangs over him the issue of phone hacking, and how much he knew while he was editor of the Daily Mirror from 1995 to 2004. Lord Justice Leveson, it will be recalled, found his protestations of complete ignorance “utterly unpersuasive”. Without suggesting that there was evidence that Morgan had ever sanctioned phone hacking, the judge concluded that “he was aware that it was taking place in the press as a whole and… was prepared to joke about it.”

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.

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