Andy McSmith's Diary: A lone Tory holds the fort on South Tyneside


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Indy Politics

David Miliband's decision to quit Parliament and depart these shores has given greater importance to a truly remarkable fact: there is still a Conservative councillor in South Tyneside. Only one, on a 54 member council, but that is one more than you will find next door on Gateshead Council, or across the river in Newcastle.

His name is Jeff Milburn, and he is likely to be the Tory candidate in the upcoming South Shields by-election. There hasn't been an MP in the North East called Milburn since Alan of that ilk stood down in 2010, and there is not likely to be another in the foreseeable future, because there has not been a Tory MP in South Shields since the seat came into existence in 1832. The Labour candidate will be selected on Wednesday of next week.


Of all the many Twitter comments about Iain Duncan Smith's claim that he could live on £53 a week, this, from Nick Frost, a freelance producer, is surely the best: "Former Tory MP Edwina Currie says she could live on £53 a week. Asked her to talk to @5_News about it, she wanted 500 quid."


Meanwhile, there is something endearingly random about the thoughts that Michael Fabricant, MP and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, shares with his Twitter followers. Yesterday, he informed them that he had "been fixing a light up a ladder in howling winds then been to recycle tip." Seven minutes later, he added: "North Korea crisis gone too far. A nuclear war puts our probs into perspective..."

Now there is a thought for the day: if a nuclear war breaks out, will we continue to care whether Mickey Fab has been to a recycle tip?


Ann Widdecombe, ex Home Office minister and star of Strictly Come Dancing offers an interesting example of cross-party cooperation in an interview in the current issue of Radio Times. "Once I danced with Peter Mandelson, who was magnificent," she declares. "He should have made that, rather than government, his career."


Adele, the singer, should have known better than to demand an apology from Joan Rivers - if indeed, she did - because the veteran comic has been around a very long time and does not surrender without a fight. This fight began when Rivers made a comment on live television, which set the audience booing. Referring Adele's 2010 single 'Rolling in the Deep', Rivers blew out her cheeks and suggested that the song be renamed 'Rolling in the Deep Fried Chicken'. That was in February. She has now returned to the attack, via Huffington Post, saying: "She's a chubby lady who's very, very rich. She should just calm down - or lose weight. And she wanted an apology - so I took an ad out on her ass. I said, 'You are not fat', and then I had room left for a lot of other ads. Let's face reality - she's fat."

Joan Rivers was 55 in the year Adele was born.