The Leader of the Commons, Andrew Lansley, and his Liberal Democrat deputy, Tom Brake, have proposed that in future years no more than three amendments to the Queen’s Speech will be allowed

Andy McSmith's Diary: An ingenious solution to blue-on-blue attacks - ban them

It’s the blue-on-blue attacks that really upset David Cameron, when Tory MPs launch a raid against their own government.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Nadine Dorries reveals humiliation pays, but not as much as we thought it did

More than a year after Nadine Dorries appeared on the reality show I’m a Celebrity… she has finally done what MPs are required to do, and filled in the appropriate part of the Register of Members’ Interests. Thus we learn that being humiliated in the jungle is less lucrative than we thought. According to the Register, she was paid £6,960 while she was on the show, plus £13,268 two months later for associated interviews and photo shoots, making £20,228 in all – half what the pundits guessed she had received.

Andy McSmith's Diary: The Tories’ new strategy: say Unite and Len McCluskey as often as possible

The more times a Tory can mention Unite and Falkirk, the happier they are

Andy McSmith's Diary: Jeremy Hunt(s) for answers to all the right questions (if they’re sent in beforehand)

There is little spontaneity in Question Time in the House of Commons. MPs arrive with their pre-prepared questions, quite often supplied for them by the business managers.

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt

Andy McSmith's Diary: Crisis? What crisis? Jeremy Hunt resembles another politician heading for A&E

Some people think that the nation’s accident and emergency wards are in crisis, but they are wrong, according to the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Nadine gives ‘the scum’ something  to get their teeth into...

It can be said without fear of contradiction that the Sunday Mirror is not Nadine Dorries’ favourite read. Last week, a Sunday Mirror hack approached the Tory MP for Mid Bedfordshire to ask why she pays her daughter £35,000 a year from her MP’s expenses to work for her when her daughter has a Cotswold home 96 miles from London and 89 miles from Bedfordshire.

Lord Black's large bar bill was the result of a technical glitch

The Feral Beast: Unpaid bar bills, kissing and telling, the great clean-up  trainspotting

Reporters on The Daily Telegraph reeled in a scoop after submitting a Freedom of Information request to the Palace of Westminster, asking who had the biggest unpaid bar bills.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Death-wish cyclists, mooning children and a debate about litter

There has been some agonising in London about why six cyclists were killed on the roads in the space of less than two weeks. To this discussion, Lord James of Blackheath has made his distinctive contribution. His experience is that cyclists are “longing” to be run over. He told the House of Lords, during a debate on litter: “I have seen cyclists put their cycles up against the central reservation... and defy you to run them down while they photograph you doing it. This is what they are longing for.”

Andy McSmith's Diary: Another not-so-Happy Hour for down-with-the-music-public Dave

David Cameron really ought to stop parading his knowledge of 1980s music. First there was Paul Weller, whose reaction on hearing that Cameron had listed “Eton Rifles” as his favourite tune was to exclaim: “Is he thick? He probably thinks ‘Eton Rifles’ is a song about him and his mates at school.”

Andy McSmith's Diary: It’s time to stop invoking old treaties and let Gibraltar decide for itself

“Spain does not seem to be aware of the Treaty of Utrecht,” the Labour MP Jim Dobbin claimed, introducing a “debate” on Spain and Gibraltar in the Commons. I put “debate” in quotation marks, because the word implies a contest between different points of view. In the UK, politicians never actually debate Gibraltar: they assert that it is ours and that Spain should leave off. That message was repeated when the Spanish ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Office.

Is HSBC’s fee cuts part of a war or a prelude to charges?

The Feral Beast: Nick Serota's loofah, the luck of Lloyd Webber, Fergie's mistakes, plus Nick Robinson and sex

The groovy revamped Tate Britain opens on Tuesday, and there's an all-day party to celebrate on Saturday, with Hot Chip on the decks. What a different scene would have greeted you only a couple of years ago. One of the biggest changes is the opening of The Grand Saloon, a first-floor room overlooking the Thames. For years it has been divided into offices, one of which was the director Sir Nicholas Serota's private bathroom, complete with tub and loofah. Sadly, I gather the bath has now been thrown out with the bathwater. "I can confirm that Nick has had a bath in there," says a spokesman when I call, "but he moved offices some time ago, and it hadn't been used for a while." Sir Nicholas is chairman of the Turner Prize jury. Surely "Tate director bathing" is an installation we'd all pay to see?

Andy McSmith's Diary: The disgraced peer and his negligible £3,000 a month

Last month I noted that Lord Hanningfield, the former Tory leader of Essex Council, has edged a step further towards being an active member of the House of Lords by tabling a written question, his first since he appeared in court charged with fiddling his expenses in February 2010. This follows the tentative first step he took last month, by saying something during a committee meeting. He still has not contributed anything to any debate in the main House of Lords chamber.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Hedge funds, the Tories’ cash cow, eagerly repay favours

A measure in George Osborne’s 2013 Budget which made no headlines outside the financial pages was the abolition of stamp duty reserve tax on UK-domiciled asset management funds. That may not sound like an attention grabber, but it was manna for Britain’s hedge-fund bosses, who by the Government’s estimate saw £145m drop off their companies’ collective annual tax bill.

Andy McSmith's Diary: One sympathetic Tory sought to co-write leader’s biography

Of all the people David Cameron might choose to write his biography, Michael Ashcroft must surely be near the bottom of the list.

The Feral Beast: Monty Don's moans, love and loot, Korean cuisine and Foot and footie

Monty Don has become something of a Marmite figure among gardeners, not least on social media. We recently pointed out some of his howlers, and the blogosphere is full of comments calling him "arrogant" and "condescending".

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
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Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
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Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
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Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
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Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
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Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
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Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
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The air strikes were tragically real

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Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
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How did our legends really begin?

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Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
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Jokes on Hollywood

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