Diary: I resign – can my husband have my job?


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The Independent Online

Diana Wallis, Liberal Democrat MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, has had a stupendous hissy fit after failing to be elected president of the European Parliament this week, and has resigned her seat. This would seem unnecessary, because she did very well in the election, considering the circumstances.

She ran as an independent, and got 141 votes. That put her a long way behind German Socialist Martin Schulz, with 387 votes, but almost level with Tory MEP Nirj Deva, who got 142.

"I want to take a break from politics," she announced yesterday.

It is a considerable sacrifice to leave a job that carries a basic salary of £78,400 plus expenses – but less so in Ms Wallis's case than in most.

The European Parliament is elected on a proportional representation system, and the rules say that when an MEP resigns, the seat is automatically allocated to the candidate from the same party who was next on the list. Second place was held by Stewart Arnold, who works for Ms Wallis and is also her husband. So the job stays in the family. Nice work.

Enemies get claws out for Klaus

Even at the humblest level of local government you find characters with a gift for publicity. One such is Klaus Armstrong-Braun, a member of Saltney Town Council, in Flintshire, who used to be the Green Party's best-known voice in Wales.

When canteen staff at Flintshire County Council headquarters tired of hearing the same jokes every time spotted dick was on the menu, and renamed it "spotted Richard", Councillor Armstrong-Braun ran a high-profile campaign to stick to dick.

Another year, to publicise his claim that councillors should be allowed to wear cooler garments in the county hall during the summer, he posed for the cameras dressed in tight shorts.

However, his outspoken ways may now have landed him in trouble. Saltney Town Council has been informed by the Adjudication Panel for Wales that a hearing into complaints against the Polish-born councillor will begin on Tuesday.

Among the accusations against him are that he described Saltney as a "backwater" and refused to apologise, and has called his fellow Saltney councillors "wild bisons and spoilt brats".

Councillor Armstrong-Braun has been advised by his lawyer not to comment.

A scandalous reason to stick around

The Labour MP Tom Watson has revealed how he nearly removed himself from the political scene before he established himself as the scourge of the phone hackers. He resigned from the Government because of family problems in June 2009, intending to quit Parliament at the election the following year. In the time remaining, he told the Hansard Society this week, he decided that he would join the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

The phone-hacking scandal erupted soon afterwards and the committee began its long investigation, which stretched beyond the election. Filled with a new sense of purpose, he decided to stay.

Nadine's not worth the wait

A demonstration is to be held outside Parliament this morning to protest about legislation proposed by Tory MP Nadine Dorries that would require schools to teach teenage girls, but not boys, the value of abstaining from sex.

All respect to those who turn out in such foul weather, but there is actually no need. The Dorries Bill is eighth on an agenda. The Daylight Saving Bill comes first, a proposal to investigate the potential impact of moving the clocks forward an hour.

The Live Music Bill, to abolish the need for pubs and other premises to have a special licence for live music, is next up. It is most unlikely MPs will ever get to item eight.