Andy McSmith's Diary: So what was Jeremy Browne doing in a Paddington hotel?

Our man in Glasgow

Jeremy Browne, the Liberal Democrat Home Office minister, has had the weird experience of seeing himself on Google's street view, walking along Praed Street near London's Paddington station.

Google claims that no one can be identified on street view, but a sharp-eyed member of the public saw Mr Browne's ministerial red box, and tipped off the Guido Fawkes blogsite. Once you know you are looking at a minister, it is very easy to identify who it is. The writing on the box indicates that it dates from when Browne was at the Foreign Office, at least a year ago.

Oddly, if you follow the image along the street, Mr Browne suddenly disappears, as if he has gone in through the front door of the Paddington Hilton Hotel. “What was Jeremy Browne doing popping into a Paddington hotel in the middle of the day?” Guido Fawkes mused.

Mr Browne later told journalists: “I wasn't going into the hotel, and it wouldn't matter if I was.” He was just walking to the station from where his ministerial car had parked, in nearby Spring Street, he added.

Old hands were reminded of a bizarre story involving Norman Lamont when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer a little over 20 years ago, and was said to have popped into the Paddington branch of Thresher's to buy champagne. After days of excited speculation about what the Chancellor had been up to in that part of town, it turned out that the story was fabricated. The manager of Thresher's was sacked for making it up.

Ex-minister off skying in the fly

Nick Harvey, the former Lib Dem minister, coined a lovely spoonerism when interviewed on the BBC's World at One programme about his opposition to nuclear weapons. He spoke of “planes skying in the fly.” When I pointed this out to him, he laughed raucously and exclaimed: “I didn't know I said that: I think I'll patent it.”

Not the fall of the house of Ussher

Away from the conference, the former Labour MP Kitty Ussher reports on Facebook that she was seeking a structural engineer's advice on removing a partition wall in her home when he remarked: “So, let me get this right, we're trying to avoid the fall of the house of Ussher, yes?” Somebody knows his Edgar Allan Poe.

Words of wisdom from The Sun's bully boy

And I cannot quite believe what I am reading, but Kelvin MacKenzie, the expletive emitting bully boy former Editor of the soaraway Sun is quoted in an interview with the Kingston and Elmbridge Lifestyle magazine as saying: “In this world, fierce won't fly. You must rely more on charm. If you are vile, like I used to be, you won't last two seconds.”

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