Andy McSmith's Diary: PM’s slip of the tongue was more like Putin his foot in it

 

David Cameron made an unfortunate slip of the tongue at Prime Minister’s Questions when he referred to “the Russian regime” – at a time when he is striving to improve relations with Vladimir Putin, whom he will meet in Belfast at the weekend, in the honourable hope that he can be persuaded to stop arming the Syrian regime. When he met Putin in Sochi last month, he did not so much as mention Alexander Litvinenko, who was murdered on British soil.

Another Russian sensitivity is over the horror inflicted on Ukraine’s rural population 80 years ago, known as Holodomor, when an average of 25,000 people a day starved to death because of a policy enforced by Stalin to abolish private farming.

The Ukrainian government is lobbying the United Nations to classify Holodomor as an act of genocide, directed from Moscow. When the Tory MP, Pauline Latham, raised this in the Commons, the Minister for Europe, David Lidington, replied: “Genocide has a defined status in international law, following the 1948 UN genocide convention. Holodomor predates the establishment of the concept of genocide in international law….”

So, it cannot have been genocide, because it happened before the Holocaust. Putin will think that an acceptable reply.

Speaker gets T-shirty with Caroline’s attire

Caroline Lucas stood up in the Westminster Hall debating chamber in Parliament to condemn The Sun for running pictures of topless teenage women on Page 3, only to be told off for being improperly dressed. As she started speaking, she removed her smart jacket to reveal a T-shirt emblazoned with the words ‘No More Page Three’. The Labour MP Jimmy Hood, chairing the session, told her that was against the rules. Lucas was also wearing the T-shirt during Prime Minister’s Questions when she tried to get called to ask a question but the Speaker, John Bercow, resolutely refused to look in her direction.

Mr Bercow and his wife, Sally, have their own reason to be furious with The Sun, for running a ‘Silly Sally Exclusive’ about the Speaker’s wife selling furniture on eBay. The Speaker gets a nice house overlooking the Thames stuffed with antique furniture as a perk of his job. The report implied that Mrs Bercow was flogging antiques that belonged to the nation. “The items sold by Mr and Mrs Bercow were their own belongings, not House property, and it is deliberately misleading to imply otherwise. We were not asked about the ownership of these items prior to the publication,” a spokesman said. But why does Mrs Bercow need money so badly that she is having to flog her furniture?

Free coffee for police sounds like a fair cop

“Hello, hello, hello, what’s a-going on here?” the Metropolitan Police Resources Board asked, and rightly so. Police cutbacks have meant fewer squad cars on patrol, which means less petrol going into squad car tanks, leading to diminished profits for London’s petrol stations, leading to intensified competition, because of which – it is rumoured – BP has been luring London’s finest to its pumps with free cups of coffee. The Board has launched a review.

“We have been made aware that some officers may have been offered free drinks and we are looking into this,” the Met press office said.

“Stores work closely with their community police officers on a variety of issues, which can involve time spent in the store for meetings, and from time to time they are given refreshments,” says BP.

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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

£15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

£11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

£15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most