Andy McSmith's Diary: What’s in a name? Well, only about 4,400 miles...

You have to feel some sympathy for Chuka Umunna. Normally so calm and so sharp, he is being talked up as one of the Labour shadow cabinet’s star performers – and then he goes and mangles a word one day, and everyone is laughing at him.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Top-table Guido fails to practise what he preached

How strange to see the name of Paul Staines, otherwise known as the blogger Guido Fawkes, on the guest list among the billionaires, oligarchs and Cabinet ministers at the Tories’ fund raising summer party, obtained by the Bureau for Investigative Journalism. The Leveson Inquiry was warned against such fraternisation during one its hearings, three years ago. “Senior politicians, editors and proprietors mix freely, all too easily,” their witness said.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Tory’s think-tank attack is not such a bright idea

Ann Leslie, the 73-year-old former Daily Mail columnist, reminds me that six years ago she revealed in her memoirs how she was once ambushed in a bedroom by the film star David Niven. After writing that, she received a reader’s letter – unpublishable until now – from a woman who had suffered a similar experience at the hands of Rolf Harris.

Ben Duncan is a Green councillor in Brighton

Andy McSmith's Diary: Brighton Green Ben Duncan apologises for 'hired killers' tweet on Armed Forces Day

Ben Duncan, a Green councillor in Brighton, has apologised, two days after the event, for tweeting “Armed Forces Day has certainly brought the hired killers onto the streets of Brighton today. Hard to explain to my son!”

Andy McSmith's Diary: And Michael Fabricant thought he’d be safe in the Commons...

After that highly publicised affair last week when the Tory MP Michael Fabricant tweeted that he might like to punch my colleague Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in the throat, she was in the Commons on Wednesday evening when who should she encounter but the man himself. “I’m on a commission which is chaired by Harriet Harman, on older women. We had finished the meeting; they were all running for a seven o’clock vote. I was coming down the stairs when there he was,” she said.

Gordon Brown: admission

Andy McSmith's Diary: BBC’s mixed messages led me to Westeros and Essos

John Birt, the former Director-General of the BBC, expounded a theory of television journalism which his colleague Peter Jay called the “mission to explain”. Today, whoever was operating their news app seems to be on a mission to mystify, as users twice received a weird message, which included the information that there will be “No nudity in latest episode of Game of Thrones!!!” and that “Push sucks! Pull blows!” It was followed by another message, apologising for the previous two: a test message was posted in error.

Andy McSmith's Diary: The honourable member for Riyadh Central

Daniel Kawczynski, Tory MP for Shrewsbury, has distinctive views on the Middle East, in which he takes a keen interest. He once told the Commons that the best man to unify Libya would be Crown Prince Mohammed el-Senussi, great nephew and heir of King Idris, who was overthrown in 1969. He is also a friend and admirer of President Assad’s cousin Ribal al-Assad, who has lived in London since a family feud forced his blood-soaked father to  leave Syria.

As a result of the European elections, UKIP now has a huge contingent of 24 MEPs

Andy McSmith's Diary: Ukip in Europe? They’ll just grab the money and run, warns party founder

Now that UKIP has a huge contingent of 24 MEPs, what can we expect them to contribute to the European Parliament? Nothing, according to Ukip’s disenchanted founder, Alan Sked. “They don’t do anything constructive there, they just go there to take the money, the expenses and get pensions…They don’t articulate policies, they are hardly ever there,” said Professor Sked. He launched Ukip in 1993, but left in 1997 after his creation had become “a magnet for bigots.”

Andy McSmith's Diary: No Fry in that night as comic pulls out of Labour event

Stephen Fry has pulled out of a big Labour Party fundraising event because he doesn’t like the way the party treated one of his friends.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Impeach Tony Blair? It’s only 208 years since the last time

Sir Peter Tapsell, the venerable Tory MP, opened Prime Minister’s Questions by suggesting that the Commons “commence the procedures of impeachment” against Tony Blair for “allegedly misleading the House” over the Iraq war, 11 years ago.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Michael Gove invokes Jimmy Carter over Cummings (and goings)

Contempt would appear to be the strongest emotion coursing through the veins of Michael Gove’s former political adviser, Dominic Cummings – contempt for politicians such as Nick Clegg, whom he once described as “self-obsessed, sanctimonious and so dishonest”, and contempt for the Whitehall village  and almost all its inhabitants, apart from Gove, of course.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Lord Browne tries to refuel ministers bored by boards

Attempts to get the civil services to be more business-like have hit a snag: the new-style board meetings that are meant to drive efficiency are so boring that even junior ministers with an eye on promotion have been avoiding them.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Tory tea-tree salesman is a shining example of longevity

David Tredinnick, MP for Bosworth, is not the smartest Conservative there ever was. In the 1990s, he is reported to have lost £750,000 as a Lloyds underwriter, but he is open to ideas about healing the sick. He is the first, I believe, to draw Parliament’s attention to tea tree oil.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Are Labour’s leaders its worst enemies?

Ed Miliband does not look like a potential prime minister to the public, the former Home Secretary Charles Clarke bluntly let on today. Mr Clarke, who has a book to promote, also thinks that it will be “very difficult” for Labour to win next year’s general election outright.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, peer Lord Oakeshott and the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, as the party faces a crisis over its leadership

Andy McSmith's Diary: Should Vince Cable have declared £20,000 opinion poll 'gift' from Lord Oakeshott?

Vince Cable’s dangerous friendship with the erratic peer Matthew Oakeshott might cause him more trouble today.

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