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UK Politics

Andy McSmith's Diary: Same game, new name –  ex-NOTW man Ian Edmondson is back


Ian Edmondson, the former News Editor of the News of the World, appears to be feeling better than he was last December.

Then, he was ruled unfit to continue to stand trial, having been charged with conspiracy to hack mobile phones. The judge ruled that he would stand trial later, in front of a different jury. Now, an illuminating piece has appeared in Loaded magazine, under the byline “Ian Edmonson”. The spelling is different, but the mugshot is Edmondson’s.

“Edmonson” describes his days as a young reporter, exploring London’s underworld – “London hardmen [then known as] ‘Dodgy’ Dave Courtney and Lenny ‘The GuvNor’ McLean were my guides to this twilight zone of chemicals washed down with on-the-house champagne…

“I tagged on to Courtney and the London scene and was given a VIP backstage pass to Gangland London. After a while I was accepted as a ‘trusted’ reporter and I gladly abided by the rule of law – certain things were not for the pages of newspapers. In fact, most of what I saw was not for the pages of newspapers.

“It turned into a high-adrenaline time of extreme highs thanks to a combination of natural and man-made chemicals…”

Welcome back.

A deadly defection

Douglas Carswell’s decision to hold a by-election in Clacton prompted memories of Bruce Douglas-Mann, who resigned and ran for re-election in Mitcham and Morden in June 1982, hoping voters would endorse his decision to quit Labour for the SDP.

That was principled, but he timed his move just after Thatcher’s victory in the Falklands. The Tories won, and Douglas-Mann went back to practising law. He flickered briefly on to the political scene in May 2000 when he ran for a council seat in Stroud, in Gloucestershire. He lost, and two months later, he died. For the next 20 years, no MP who changed parties risked a by-election.

If Kelly’s a loyalist...

The announcement by Chris Kelly, MP for Dudley South, that he will not be contesting the next general election brings to eight the number of Tories first elected in 2010 who are pulling out next year, in addition to Louise Mensch, who has already jumped.

Before he was an MP, Kelly took a stern view of MPs who, once elected, “go on to cause problems for the party leadership”, and urged that party headquarters should have greater powers to overrule local associations and weed out potential trouble makers. In Parliament, he defied David Cameron by voting for a referendum on Europe, and as a parting shot he wished Douglas Carswell “all the best”.

Bot did I do wrong Grant?

A funny thing happened to me over the summer. One morning a message informed me that Grant Shapps, Chairman of the Conservative Party, was following me on Twitter. Imagine how my heart swelled with pride! Yet when I came back from a trip abroad, I saw to my dismay that Mr Shapps had unfollowed me! It could not have been anything I had tweeted, because I had been in a place where there is no access to Twitter.

But there are around 26,500 whom he still follows, including Anastasia Volkova, who tweets only in Russian, a Brazilian named Tiago who tweets in Portuguese and has nine followers, and Xato Eradze, who I think is Georgian, but it is hard to tell because he has never tweeted and has only two followers. 

Some people say that Shapps uses a bot which boosts his Twitter following by randomly signing him up to follow people who might then follow him back. But I am sure he does it all in person.