Andy McSmith's Diary: Motherhood proved no obstacle to the Iron Lady - so why should it for Rachel Reeves

Tory Andrew Rosindell suggested the Labour MP would be unfit to hold a cabinet job if Labour wins in May, because she is heavily pregnant

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Indy Politics

Andrew Rosindell, a Conservative MP best known as a bulldog-owning, Union Jack waving Thatcherite, has embarrassed the Conservative leadership by suggesting that Labour’s Rachel Reeves would be unfit to hold a cabinet job if Labour wins in May, because she is heavily pregnant.

Her stated intention is to take up office at the Department of Work and Pensions, stay long enough to abolish the so-called bedroom tax, then go on maternity leave. Rosindell told the Daily Mail: “I don’t want to say someone who is having a baby is not eligible to be a cabinet minister, but I certainly think perhaps the demands of that particular job will require someone to give it their full attention.”

In 1953, when Margaret Thatcher was in the early stages of pregnancy, she put her name forward to be a Tory candidate in a by-election in a safe seat, Canterbury. When her twins were five months old, she passed her exams and began practising as a barrister. Later that same year, she got herself on to the shortlist to fight another by-election, in Orpington. Obviously, there was no Rosindell on hand to tell her to stay at home and nurse her little ones.

Sins of the father

I seldom read the many tweets from the Respect MP George Galloway because he has blocked me, but there was one today that was widely circulated, in which he attacked the journalist Hugo Rifkind for being the son of Sir Malcolm. “Has Hugo Rifkind of the Murdoch Times anything to say? He’s normally loquacious…” he wrote.

Rifkind Jnr replied: “Thanks for asking, George. I suppose I’d just say I’d salute my Dad’s courage, strength and indefatigability. I hope this helps.”

For those who may have missed the point of this lovely slap down, it refers to a 1994 video in which Gorgeous George is seen talking to Saddam Hussein, dictator of Iraq, telling him: “I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.” Galloway has claimed that this fulsome tribute was directed at the Iraqi people, not to their brutal ruler, though he was looking into Saddam’s face as he spoke.

Strictly come endorsing

While coyly declining to say how he might vote in May, 87-year-old Sir Bruce Forsyth tells the Radio Times how he enjoyed meeting David Cameron. “He’s the most pleasant man. I’ve met him a few times now and I think he’s done a good job.” Or, as he might have put it, nice to see him, to see him – nice.

Councillor on another planet

Simon Parkes, a Labour councillor from Whitby, in Yorkshire, has an unusual story. His mother was a 9ft-tall alien with eight fingers. At the age of 11, he entered into a “soul agreement” with a Mantid, another alien life form. As well as being married to a human, he has had a long-running sexual liaison with an alien named Zarka, the Cat Queen, by whom he has sired a love child. I am not making any of this up, by the way. Parkes may be making it up, possibly, but that is for you to decide.

Last week, the councillor shared his insight into the troubles in east Ukraine with an audience of about 30 who turned out to hear him in Wallsend, on Tyneside. Vladimir Putin, he said, is being advised by Nordic aliens, who are intergalactic troublemakers, by the sound of it. “The technology the Nordics are giving to Putin is on a par with America. The Nordics have told Putin he no longer has to toe the American line,” he said, according to the report in the Newcastle Sunday Sun. He also showed video footage of a spaceship hovering over the North Sea.

Does this chime with official Labour Party thinking? A spokesman refused to comment.

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