Andy McSmith's Diary: No constituent left behind (as long as they pay for my toilet paper)

 

“Torridge and West Devon are two of the lowest wage areas in the country,” the local Tory MP Geoffrey Cox told the North Devon Journal last week. His resolution for 2014 was to make sure that those on low wages “are not left behind”.

This is most unselfish, because Mr Cox is not himself on low wages, by anyone’s yardstick. Indeed, as a QC who heads his own chambers, he makes the kind of money that makes other MPs’ eyes water. Over the Christmas break, he updated his entry in Parliament’s Register of Members’ Interests, in which he declared a princely £368,322 worth of payments he had received for legal work between June 2012 and August 2013.

That is on top of £313,543 he had already declared for work done over a slightly longer period. In all, that is more than £680,000 he has earned as a lawyer in less than two years. In between all this legal work, he found time to speak in five debates in the House of Commons during 2013, almost one every 10 weeks. Recently, Mr Cox claimed £3 on MP’s expenses for keeping his constituency office supplied with toilet tissue.

Ms McIntosh’s rotten apple

All 550 members of the Thirsk and Malton Conservative Association should by now have received their ballot papers so that they can vote on whether to re-adopt or sack their MP, Anne McIntosh.

She has support from on high, including an endorsement from David Cameron, who called her “one of the most assiduous MPs”. But some in her part of Yorkshire beg to differ. George Winn-Darley, who owns 7,000 acres of Yorkshire moorland, and Victor Buchanan sent out an open letter last week saying that “it is untenable to have an MP who cannot work with her local party.”

The plot appeared to thicken when a local journalist spotted that an email attached to their letter apparently came from Edward Legard, a barrister and Ryedale councillor, who has parliamentary ambitions. Mr Legard has denied that he is lining himself up to take Ms McIntosh’s place. He said the email was sent from a laptop he had given to his son.

Bride and prejudice

Congratulations to Thomas Gardiner, a councillor from Kilburn in North London, whom a court of law has found to have a mind of his own, rather than being ruled by his wife. The verdict came at the end of a long legal battle between the council and the owners of Spearmint Rhino, a lap-dancing club, who said conditions attached to their licence were too stringent.

The club’s application was dealt with by a council sub-committee, which split 2-2, whereupon Councillor Gardiner used his casting vote to make it 3-2. One of the other councillors who voted for rules to which the club objected was Maryam Eslamdoust, to whom Gardiner is married. District judge Robin McPhee, upholding the council’s decision, said: “I reject the suggestion that the chairman was exercising his casting vote to appease his wife.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there