Andy McSmith's Diary: Iain Duncan Smith’s unwanted army of jobless memorial cleaners

It would warm Tory hearts to see the unemployed preserve our heritage

Stop HS2 campaigners, some wearing masks of London Mayor Boris Johnson, were protesting outside parliament

Andy McSmith's Diary: Straight up, Stewart Jackson is no fan of gay marriage – or tofu for that matter...

Stewart Jackson, Tory MP for Peterborough, is no fan of gay marriage, which he has described as a “constitutional outrage” and “a disgrace.” He has accused David Cameron of being “arrogant” for giving it legal recognition.

Andy McSmith's Diary: The Ukip candidate who finds gay rights hard to swallow

Douglas Denny, a Ukip member, thinks that gays are abnormal. In January, the Sunday Mirror noted his contribution to an online forum where he wrote: “What irritates me is the way they and their leftie, neo-Commie followers seem to want to force the rest of us to consider them as normal. I just wish they would keep their homosexual nature and practices to themselves.”

Andy McSmith's Diary: A month in the lucrative life of Lord Hanningfield

November 2013 was the last full month that the old jailbird Lord Hanningfield was able to stroll in and out of the House of Lords to record his presence so that he qualified for his £300-a-day allowance, blissfully unaware that the Daily Mirror had photographic evidence of what he was up to. One pair of photographs showed that he spent just 21 minutes on the premises, earning himself a handy £14 a minute.

Daenerys Targaryen, the khaleesi played by Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones – but which MP would be the best dragon-keeper?

Andy McSmith's Diary: Boles gets a little distracted by a Westminster 'Game of Thrones'

As MPs reassembled after the weekend break, ministers from the Communities and Local Government Department assembled to focus their minds on the oral questions they were going to have to answer in the House. That, anyway, is what they should have been doing, but Nick Boles, a very clever junior minister, was focused on his handset, tweeting: “Distracted from Orals prep by this topical question: which of my colleagues would best fill the role of Khaleesi?”

Andy McSmith's Diary: It’s all about knowing your target (super) market, Dave

David Cameron picked an odd location to air his view that you are more likely to have an interesting conversation in Waitrose than any other supermarket. “I have got a piece of supermarket sociology, which is that there is something about Waitrose customers... they are the most talkative,” he told the staff today. “I found that if I shop in Waitrose it takes me about twice as long, as everyone wants to stop you and have a chat. Whereas in other supermarkets I find I can dart round very quickly and get everything. It is something about your customers, they are very talkative, engaged people.”

Andy McSmith's Diary: Long arm of the law leaves another journalist hacked off

Behind the good intentions of the Hacked Off campaign and others who want to protect the innocent from the appalling behaviour of some journalists, there was always the risk that in their zeal they would create an atmosphere in which any shyster threatened with exposure can cry that their privacy is being invaded.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Ukip’s comic turn for Cambridge council now wants Equity rates

Gordon Gillick, a Ukip member of Cambridgeshire County Council, is a character. Last November, he interrupted a talk by three youngsters who had grown up in council care homes to ask them: “How does it feel to be takers from the system?”

Many Conservative Party members gagging to have Boris Johnson as their MP

Andy McSmith's Diary: Conservative clamour grows for Boris to return to the Commons

The people would love it – they would welcome Boris with open arms

Andy McSmith's Diary: Is anyone ready to cough up for Anne McIntosh’s constituency battle?

Anne McIntosh, the Tory MP whose political future hangs by a thread, has denied that she might resign and force a by-election in Thirsk and Malton. “That is a rumour started down here by someone who – let me put it like this – does not have my interests at heart,” she said.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Who needs a food bank when you’ve got fancy restaurants?

Liam Marshall-Ascough, a Conservative member of Crawley Borough Council in West Sussex, was once styled the “Virgin politician” because of his day job as a member of Virgin Airlines’ cabin crew. A virgin he may be, but innocent he is not. He has made his mark by pushing through stricter rules for getting on Crawley’s housing register, to keep Romanians and Bulgarians off it, and has obstructed a plan to introduce a food bank in the town hall, because he frankly does not think it is necessary.

Man About Town: Clubs cater for all tastes – even bean baths

A dwarf dressed as a dog walks around greeting the guests

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