Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Diary: Why Allegra Mostyn-Owen was always better off without Boris

  • @andymcsmith

In a touching interview in yesterday's Evening Standard, Allegra Mostyn-Owen, who married Boris Johnson 25 years ago, describes him as a better ex-husband than a husband. She said her ex had sent her a text message inviting her to join his Muslim Engagement Task Force – presumably on the strength of her having married a Muslim who is half her age.

But Mayor Johnson does not appear to have warned his office that he wants his ex-wife to be his adviser. After going away to check, a spokesman made the following statement on Ms Mostyn-Owen: "We are still in the process of reviewing our community engagement programme and we seek to work with all faiths and all communities across the capital."

The Mayor is perhaps a better ex-husband than office manager.

No migrants unless they're tyrants

Britain's prison system will soon be hosting a celebrity convict. Charles Taylor, former warlord of Liberia who inflicted a decade of misery on Sierra Leone, is to be sentenced this morning by the international court in The Hague after being convicted of war crimes. The prosecution has asked for an 80-year prison sentence. The defence has asked that he shouldn't be made to end his days in a British prison.

There is an irony in the timing, because it comes in the same week that the pressure group Migration Watch has complained about African immigrants who come to the UK and never leave. "The real problem with immigration is that non-EU migrants are failing to return home," it said.

Yesterday, the white-collar union Prospect protested because two distinguished Kenyan trade union leaders have been refused entry to the UK to address its conference because the immigration service refused to believe they were not coming here to stay.

And meanwhile there is Charles Taylor desperately pleading for the right not to set foot in the UK. His lawyers point out that the Serbian war criminal, Radislav Krstic, was almost killed when fellow prisoners attacked him with knives in Wakefield prison two years ago. All to no avail, because the UK Government has volunteered to incarcerate him and no other country wants to have him.

O Canada! Lord Black wants to stay

Another person who is not keen to be here is Conrad Black, the former owner of the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and The Spectator, who was released from a Miami prison complex earlier this month and is now enjoying the quiet of his luxury Toronto home with his wife Barbara Amiel. He renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2001 to become a British citizen so that he could enter the House of Lords, as Lord Black of Crossharbour.

Canada does not normally tolerate the presence of foreign citizens with criminal records, but has granted Lord Black a one-year temporary residency permit. He has applied to be a Canadian citizen once more.

Bingle relieved to play happy families

Peter Bingle, who left his job as chairman of Bell Pottinger Public Affairs earlier this month, has been keeping in touch with friends and contacts by email. The lobbying firm he used to run has been through a sticky patch since it was the target of an undercover investigation in this newspaper. Lord Bell is organising a management buy-out.

To judge by his emails, Bingle is happy to be out of it: "The children have discovered that they have a father and I am now doing important things like the school run and feeding the swans... I just hope that week three will be as exciting and rewarding as the first two."

On the other hand, he needs to build up a new business. As a former Tory councillor he could offer his services to the party, but only if they have forgiven him for what he wrote during the last general election. He called it, "the most inept Tory campaign in living memory".