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.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz