Andy McSmith's Diary: A princess-prohibiting paperwork problem


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Indy Politics

With about a month left before the Duchess of Cambridge is due to have her second child, the 2013 Succession to the Crown Act is still not in force.

This is the law that would ensure that if the royal mite is a girl, she will not lose her place in the line of succession to any younger brothers who may come along later.

The delay in enactment comes about because the Queen is queen of more places than just the UK. The Bill had to pass through legislatures in various far-flung former colonies, including all six states of Australia. I am told there is an outside chance of it getting Royal Assent before the baby arrives.

Foote out the door

The grand old man of the Lib Dem party in the North-east of England has thrown a magnificent hissy fit. Chris Foote-Wood has been a mainstay of the Lib Dems around Co Durham since long before the Lib Dem party existed.

He was a councillor in the year Nick Clegg was born. He has stood and lost in eight general elections, and was on course to make it nine. He was to be Lib Dem candidate in Richmond, North Yorkshire, where William Hague notched up a Tory majority of 23,336. But the Northern Echo reports that the 74-year-old is a candidate no more. He has flounced out, claiming that he got no help from the local party there, that three local activists made “distasteful and derogatory” comments about him, and that they called in someone from Leeds to write his election address without telling him.

The most interesting fact by far about Foote-Wood is that his younger sister is the immensely gifted comedian Victoria Wood.

Taking the Michael

While the chairman of the Conservative Party struggles to explain why he is sometimes Grant Shapps and sometimes Michael Green, his former vice chairman, Michael Fabricant, reacts to the affair with customary frivolity. He tweeted: “I must now admit that I’ve been writing under my pen name, JK Rowling. (Please send all back royalties direct to my bank account).”

Sin of omission

Gavin Barwell, a very likeable Tory MP (I know, sounds like an oxymoron, but there you have it) is hanging on by his fingertips in marginal Croydon Central.

He has decided he can improve his chances of survival by not mentioning the unmentionable. Hence his plea to sympathisers to write a letter supporting him, which, he points out, would be “much more effective if it doesn’t mention the Conservative Party or David Cameron”.