Diary: Forgetful David Cameron escapes with a put-down from John Prescott

 

While a distressed looking Gordon Brown told the Leveson Inquiry yesterday about how he hated having his son's medical records exposed to the public gaze, Downing Street decided not even to try to shut down the story about David Cameron accidentally abandoning his young daughter in a pub.

The story is not going to harm the Prime Minister, because there is hardly a parent anywhere who does not harbour a similarly guilty memory. Even John Prescott was understanding. "Cameron has done worse. He once left Nick Clegg in charge of the country," the former Deputy Prime Minister tweeted.

And as for that Tony Blair – he left the UK in the hands of John Prescott.

An MP who won't be missed in Westminster

Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister, will not be missed in Westminster when he stands down to concentrate on his role in Stormont, He will not be missed because, true to a long-standing Sinn Fein policy, he has never taken his seat.

But his passing will be noted by Ipsa, the body that disburses MPs' expenses, and from whom McGuinness has claimed, as he is entitled to do. During 2011 alone, he received more than £29,000 towards the cost of running his constituency office. If Sinn Fein wins the by-election in Mid Ulster consequent on McGuinness's resignation, his successor will likewise submit his expenses whilst refusing to acknowledge Parliament's authority.

Voice from past has lessons for today

The death yesterday of the former Tory MP John Maples stirred memories of a bluntly written memo he wrote when he was vice-chairman of the Conservative Party just after Tony Blair's emergence as Labour leader in 1994.

It warned that the Conservative government could be heading for serious defeat, because of "a feeling of powerlessness and insecurity about jobs, housing, health service, business, family values, crime etc, and no vision of where we are heading".

A particular problem was what the Tories were doing to the NHS. The public thought the reforms were "clumsy" and "believe what doctors and nurses say about them, which is almost universally hostile".

There was also, he warned, a perception that "the rich are getting richer on the backs of the rest, who are getting poorer".

How times have changed.

Pigeon feeders – you must be mad!

Pigeon News. Leslie Harrison, a well-known local character in Portadown , Co Armagh, has been told by the council that he must stop feeding the pigeons outside St Mark's Church in the town centre. Residents have complained that the titbits of bread dropped by the birds are attracting rats.

Harrison feeds the pigeons from Monday to Saturday, but never on the Lord's Day, and loves them so much he holds bread between his teeth for them to peck it out. "I question the authority of the council," he told the Portadown Times.

This follows hard on Merseyside's pigeon troubles. Liverpool council has run into a storm of controversy by issuing a leaflet discouraging the feeding of these birds, which claimed that it is "often undertaken by individuals with mental health needs". It is considered offensive to imply that sane people do not feed pigeons. Oh, and across the Mersey, in Wallasey, they are upset because a mystery killer has been shooting the pigeons with an air rifle.

Zac flies into another row

There was a small flutter of interest over the weekend when Zac Goldsmith, the photogenic, super-rich Tory MP for Richmond, threatened to resign if the Government decided to construct a third runway at Heathrow. He has said it before, and will surely say it again.

Before his election in May 2010, he made a similar threat to resign if a Tory government closed Kingston Hospital, in his constituency. After the election, the hospital underwent a programme of cost-cutting, which involved a loss of almost 500 jobs.

"Hospitals around the country are having to find savings, and ours is no different," an understanding Mr Goldsmith told residents, who wondered why he had not resigned.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture