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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement