Diary: May dispenses some tough justice at Clarke's expense

 

It's best not to mess with Theresa May. There was a sharp edge to the Home Secretary's exchange with Ken Clarke as they accepted the Spectator Parliamentary award for Double Act of the Year.

The Laurel and Hardy turn that earned them the award was their famous spat during the Conservative Party conference over whether or not an illegal Bolivian immigrant was given permission to stay in the UK because he owned a cat, rather than an ongoing dispute about prison sentences.

Accepting the award, Mrs May remarked – "Ken, I lock 'em up, you let 'em out." She, of course, had time to work that one out, while the Justice Secretary had to respond off the cuff. His reply was not bad under the circumstances. He said: "She puts them in and somebody has to make room for them" – but her dig is the one that is inevitably going to be quoted, time and again.

The premier league of womanisers

At the same function, the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, told a tale he has been bursting to tell since he returned from a summit in Kazakhstan last December but couldn't, until now, in case he set off a diplomatic incident. That summit was the sole occasion on which he met Silvio Berlusconi. Italy's ex-premier's opening words to him were: "I've slept with more women than your Prime Minister." Sam Cam will be pleased to know that.

I think you mean Tony Blair, Ed

Ed Miliband made what sounded very like a dig at Tony Blair yesterday as he cosied up to the former Foreign Secretary David Owen at a meeting of the Social Market Foundation.

Lord Owen was one of the "Gang of Four" who broke with Labour in 1981 and launched the rival Social Democratic Party, complaining that Labour had swerved too far to the left.

Mr Miliband quipped that he could have been the fourth member of the Gang of Four, because some of the ideas Owen advocated in the 1980s, such as the social market, were seen then by many people in the Labour Party as dangerously right-wing but now they would be seen as dangerously left-wing. "That is the way politics changes," he remarked. He did not name the agent of change who took the Labour Party so far to the right that it passed by David Owen, but we know who he meant.

Nothing for MPs to do, it would seem

There seems to be no satisfactory explanation as to why MPs are currently on another week's holiday. The normal reason for an autumn break was to mark the end of one session of Parliament and the start of the next with the ceremony of the Queen's Speech, but the Government has decided to put the Queen's Speech back to an unspecified date in the spring.

Having prolonged the session for up to six months, they couldn't think of anything for the Commons to do.

In the House of Lords, which has carried on working, Maurice Peston, father of the BBC's Business Editor, told peers that as well as being an exceptionally long one, it "has now also become about the most boring session of my 25 years in this House".

Football. It's a funny old game

"You're ignorant" screamed the headline on the Daily Mail's coverage of Sepp Blatter's suggestion that footballers who suffer racist abuse should shake hands when the game is over and forget it. Would this be the same Daily Mail that on 26 October suggested to Anton Ferdinand and Patrice Evra that "things may not be perfect but, at the end of the day, there are worse things to complain about. So, Mr Evra and Mr Ferdinand, perhaps you could just put up with it and get on with the game..."?

The big PR moment passes Church by

Overheard: "We've spent decades trying to get the words 'What would Jesus do?' in the newspapers, and now protesters have managed it while the Church is worrying about health and safety." – a vicar talking to a correspondent for the Church Times, in the vicinity of St Paul's, as reported in this month's Prospect magazine.

Suggested Topics
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

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Project Manager - Bristol South West

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Project Manager (PM), Key Banking Client, Retail ...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor