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UK Politics

Andy McSmith's Diary: Boris Johnson owes the fox community an apology


Boris Johnson has confessed that he came close to committing a gross injustice that would have involved innocent creatures being blasted to death at gunpoint – and all over an anonymous cat. The Mayor of London was speaking at a debate hosted by the radio station LBC, for whom he will host a new phone-in starting on 2 July.

He told his interviewer, Nick Ferrari: “Our cat came in and he was completely mashed up and I was convinced a fox had done it and I wanted to go out with my .22 [rifle] and blaze away. I shouldn’t be saying this. I was all set, but … (by the way I’m allowed to have a .22) but you’re not allowed to shoot a fox. That is for the local pest control officers…”

“How is your cat?” Ferrari asked. “That’s the interesting thing,” Mr Johnson, below, replied. “The cat is much improved. After I’d felt these feelings of blind anger towards the fox population and nursed in my breast the desire to go and massacre the lot of them, I looked at the cat more closely and I started to wonder whether his injuries were actually compatible with cat-on-cat violence. You know, it’s all too easy to stigmatise people.

“I can’t disclose the name of the cat,” he added. “Well actually it has various names, but it’s called‘Cat’ basically.” Nick Clegg, right, who also has a slot on LBC, has called the London Mayor a “slacker” for doing only one programme a month on LBC, whereas the Deputy Prime Minister goes every week. Johnson retorted by calling Clegg an “idle bum” with time on his hands.

Some career advice for Theresa May

Ministers are normally too polite to mention the possibility that David Cameron will not be the Tory leader forever. That taboo was broken in Parliament yesterday by the business minister, Michael Fallon.

The Labour MP John Spellar was complaining about police buying imported squad cars, and suggested that if the Home Secretary, Theresa May, were to make them buy British, “it might even help her leadership ambitions”.

“They may not need that much help,” said Mr Fallon. Within hours, Ladbrokes were reporting that Mrs May had overtaken Boris Johnson as the favourite to be the next Tory leader.

Life after disgrace is lucrative in the Lords

Nick Clegg has indicated there could be legislation soon to effect “minor, technical housekeeping changes which might be deemed necessary in the House of Lords, kicking out crooks or people who don’t attend…”

That could be bad news for the former Tory leader of Essex County Council, Lord Hanningfield, who served eight weeks of a nine-month jail sentence in 2011 for fiddling his House of Lords expenses.

Since then, he has not spoken in the Lords, nor asked a written or oral question, but he turns up most days when the House is sitting, and collects the £300 a day attendance allowance to which the rules entitle him. In January, he pocketed £4,800, plus £425 travel costs.

We now know that in the first nine months since his return from disgrace, he collected £29,400 in allowances altogether. That equates to an annual salary of £39,200, just for being there. Note to Mr Clegg: make that legislation retrospective.