Andy McSmith's Diary: Anna Soubry’s penetrative analysis puts Nigel Farage in a tight spot

 

Anna Soubry, a Tory MP, has the distinction of being Britain’s first female defence minister, but is probably better known for the things she has said to and about Nigel Farage.

She tore a strip off him on BBC’s Question Time, telling the Ukip leader: “You do not talk facts, you talk prejudice... and you scaremonger.” She also made what was perhaps a comment too far on The Andrew Marr Show when she said that Farage “looks like somebody has put their finger up his bottom and he really rather likes it”.

Interviewed by Alastair Campbell for GQ magazine, Farage went out of his way to say nice things about a range of politicians, but suddenly dropped the friendly pretence at the first mention of Anna Soubry. “Have you met her?” he exclaimed. “Impossible to get on with at any level – and so conceited and arrogant. About what, I don’t know.”

Somebody didn’t like that finger-up-the-rectum remark.

The House always wins

It is a little known fact that a life peerage does not have to be for life. A recent rule change allows them to retire, but as of last week, only three had done so. They were all immensely old: the oldest, Lord Hutchinson, was 99 on Friday. But on Monday, the Labour life peer Julian Grenfell, a former diplomat and broadcaster, finally hung up his ermine at the age of 78, after giving an erudite valedictory speech in which he quoted a Viennese dramatist, whose play about the Habsburg dynasty contained the line: “This is the curse upon our noble House, to strive half-heartedly by half measures, to bring about half of what must be done.”

The convicted expenses fiddlers, Lord Hanningfield and Lord Taylor of Warwick, are still in the Lords, claiming their £300 a day attendance allowance, because there is no means of getting rid of them.

MP Unknown No More

I confess that I knew nothing about the Tory MP Mark Menzies before he resigned at the weekend over the allegations published in the Sunday Mirror. I notice that his name appeared last November in the Blackpool Gazette, under the headline “Glorious Farewell for a Hero Unknown no More.” The “hero unknown no more” was not Mr Menzies but a war veteran. Mr Menzies was quoted explaining why he would have to miss the funeral.

Dicks by name...

A couple of months ago some teenagers played stupid pranks, ringing up members of Runnymede Council, in Surrey, and making lewd remarks. The police traced them and gave them what are called Youth Restorative Interventions, a type of measure being pioneered in Surrey, which involves the culprit having to sign a promise to behave. They got off far too lightly, according to the vice-chairman of Surrey’s police panel, who thinks they should have been prosecuted, publicly named, and given criminal records. The police have been “limp-wristed,” he told the Surrey Herald.

The man who made this charming remark is named Terry Dicks. There used to be a Tory MP of that name famous for having the smallest majority in the Commons, and the biggest mouth. Now aged 81, he once criticised the Foreign Office for trying to save a British subject from being flogged in Qatar for allegedly selling alcohol to a Muslim, on the grounds that the British public is in favour of flogging. His comments were much quoted in the Qatari press as they went ahead with administering fifty lashes, using three-foot canes. After losing his Commons seat, he became a Runnymede councilor.

Could these two gentlemen named Terry Dicks be one and the same person? I believe they could.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones