Andy McSmith's Diary: The Ukip candidate who finds gay rights hard to swallow

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Douglas Denny, a Ukip member, thinks that gays are abnormal. In January, the Sunday Mirror noted his contribution to an online forum where he wrote: “What irritates me is the way they and their leftie, neo-Commie followers seem to want to force the rest of us to consider them as normal. I just wish they would keep their homosexual nature and practices to themselves.”

Since then, he has been adopted as a Ukip candidate for a place on Portsmouth City Council, and has explained to the Portsmouth News that his online comments were “taken out of context” – of course – that he is not anti-homosexual – heavens, no – and that he does not believe in discrimination. It is just that he believes gays are “abnormal” in the sense that they are a minority, and objects to their claiming to be normal. To quote his precise words: “I wish that they wouldn’t try to keep ramming it down my throat.”

Oh dear, is that what they have been trying to do? No wonder the poor man is distressed.

Now read on...

Nadine Dorries was understandably chuffed about a throwaway remark David Cameron made when Prime Minister’s Questions came to a close. He said that he might spend part of the half-term break reading her new novel, the same novel that a Daily Telegraph critic described as the worst he had read in 10 years. Putting aside the contempt she has expressed in the past for the Downing Street “posh boy”, she tweeted: “Wow! The PM has said in PMQs he’s going to read The Four Streets over Easter – signed copy on its way to No 10.”

Actually, he did not say he was going to read it, he said it was a “possible choice.” And as the Prime Minister was leaving, the microphones picked up the unsolicited advice he got from the Speaker, John Bercow, that if he wanted a stimulating read, he should consider Parliament: The Biography, by the Labour MP Chris Bryant.

Women vs Davids

This is how the score sheet looks after the latest round of Government appointments.

Women MPs with the right to attend Cabinet: Theresa May, Justine Greening, Theresa Villiers, Nicky Morgan (4).

MPs called David with the right to attend Cabinet: David Cameron, David Jones, David Willetts, David Laws (4).

Who needs a Minister for Equalities, when MPs called David already have parity with women MPs?

Permission to speak

Many congratulations to Godfrey John Bewicke-Copley, the 7th Baron Cromwell, on a stunning by-election victory. Since the Labour government removed all but 92 of the hereditary peers from the House of Lords – including the aforesaid Lord Cromwell – it has been the practice that when one of the 92 dies, a by election is called in which only hereditary peers can stand as candidates. A full field of 27 competed for the place created by the death last month of Lord Moran, son of Winston Churchill’s wartime physician.

Lord Cromwell, 54, inherited his seat in the Lords when he was only 22, after his father was killed in a riding accident. His title was originally bestowed on Ralph de Cromwell by King Edward III in 1375, but went into abeyance for many years, and was revived in 1923 to honour Brigadier General Sir Robert Calverley Bewicke-Copley, who fought and was wounded in both world wars, spending part of the second as a PoW. Young Godfrey was something of an absentee peer.

He made his maiden speech more than 15 years after inheriting the title, just before the mass removal of the hereditaries. Let us hope he does not keep their lordships waiting quite so long the second time round.