Andy McSmith's Diary: Good news for The Guardian - help is on its way. In the form of Andrew Mitchell

 

Andrew Mitchell, the former Chief Whip, has found a new outlet for his talents after a difference of opinion with a Downing Street police officer cost him his previous job.

In the updated Register of MPs' interests he declares that he is a director of The Foundation, a London management consultancy, which are paying him £3,000 a day to work six days a year, with £10,000 up front.

Prominent among The Foundation's clients is The Guardian, who will now be able to draw on the expertise of a politician whom a Guardian editorial last September accused of having “ineptly… damaged himself, his party and his government”.

Conference apologists spring into action

The spring conferences of the political parties used to be high-profile events drawing only slightly less attention than the annual conferences in the autumn – attention that frequently embarrassed party bosses. The Tories have cut theirs back to a one-day event, held today, in central London. Similarly, Labour will hold a one-day “People's Policy Forum” next Saturday, in Birmingham. Only the Liberal Democrats continue with an event that can be called a conference.

But The Liberator, a magazine for Liberal Democrat activists, warns: “Not for the first time, there is a move to abolish the spring conference.” It adds, tongue in cheek: “The motives are said to be financial… We are sure that the embarrassment caused to the leadership at recent spring conferences has nothing to do with it.”

Hang 'em, flog 'em – and maybe do some research

Priti Patel is an assiduous Tory MP who made a name for herself on BBC's Question Time by arguing the case for bringing back hanging. In her quest to find out just how soft the prison system is for murderers and the like, she has tabled a question calling on the Justice Department to reveal exactly how much is spent on state benefits for prisoners serving life sentences. For the record, prisoners are disqualified from getting benefits. So the answer is nil.

Pubs find an unlikely saviour: drink-drivers

The Campaign for Real Ale held a rally this week to protest against the accelerating number of pub closures in London, which is said to be losing them at a rate of two a week.

The problem is not, of course, confined to the capital, and is in some ways more serious in rural parts of the country. I see that a lady named Hilda Carson is so concerned about the disappearance of rural pubs in Hertfordshire that she has written to the Hitchin Comet demanding that something be done.

“To enable customers to visit, and assist the survival of these much-loved institutions, I would suggest that at certain quiet times, and only for the more experienced drivers, after 11pm at weekends for example, that rural roads and some arterial routes be exempted from the application of drink-driving regulations…” she wrote.

Would anyone fancy living along one of these roads where “more experienced drivers” can drive home as drunk as they like without fear of arrest?

Why in Slough it's best to be a Cameroon

After 44 years in the Conservative Party, Diana Coad claims to be the best-known Tory in the town of Slough, Berkshire. She has run for Parliament three times, but there will be no fourth attempt, after being called to the party's London headquarters and struck off the candidates' list. Her furious husband, Peter Dale-Gough, former leader of the Tory group on Slough council, tells me: “The party chose her to run three times but because it has become known that she is not a Cameroon, they've told her she can piss off.”

She was approached by Ukip who asked if she wanted to be an MEP, but she told them: “No, I'm a Conservative. I just can't stand David Cameron.”

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence