Andy McSmith's Diary: White Dee: I’m not too common for the Commons


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Indy Politics

White Dee, who rose to fame through the Channel 4 series Benefits Street, has given Old Etonian Tory MP Kwasi Kwarteng a piece of her mind, for allegedly saying that she was “too common” for the House of Commons. She is so cross she may even run against him in Spelthorne next year.

“Then we’ll see who is too common,” she told Total Politics magazine.

“I can’t understand comments like that. They aren’t really very helpful. I’ve never said I’m not common, but I’m not stupid. Comments like that just make people think: ‘Check him out, little public schoolboy, blah, blah, blah.’”

This is not an argument that I would care to get stuck into, but I feel compelled to point out that there is no record that Kwarteng ever described White Dee as “common”.

On hearing that she had parliamentary ambitions, Kwarteng was quoted by the Daily Star in February as saying “she should give it a go if she thinks she has the right qualities”. But he added that she would probably not succeed because “she’s not a particularly good role model”. The words “too common” would appear to have been thought up by a headline writer. There was nothing in the text to suggest that the Tory MP ever used them.

A key thing to remember

Losing the keys to your place of work is more than a nuisance, it is a big security risk, if you are a prison officer. There have been three cases this year in which locksmiths have been summoned to HM prisons in a rush after jailers discovered they could not find their keys – at Lindholme, near Doncaster, in February; Haverigg in Cumbria, in May; and Highpoint, in Suffolk, in July. I see from Hansard that those incidents cost the taxpayer £88,101. Even car manufacturers do not charge that much for lost keys.

A vote for vegans

Vegans working in the Houses of Parliament are being offered a special vegan loyalty card this month, which is apparently “world vegan month”.

Eat nine vegan meals in any of Parliament’s catering establishments and you can have a tenth free. There are only three known vegans among the 650 MPs – Kerry McCarthy, Cathy Jamieson and Chris Williamson – all Labour – but Ben Williamson, of the animal rights group Peta, tells me: “I am led to believe that Parliament is the second-biggest catering establishment in the capital, after Wormwood Scrubs. It’s not just MPs that eat there, but also lots of MPs’ staff, interns, visitors, and the clerks, maintenance people, security people, etc. So we expect that many thousands of vegan meals will be consumed during November.”

Just another brick in the wall

There was a near riot in Folkestone during the weekend after workmen were spotted drilling holes to remove part of the wall of an amusement arcade.

The local MP, Damian Collins, has pleaded for the missing piece of masonry to be retained in the town. Shepway Council has expressed disappointment that it has gone.

Social media have been alive with protests. This is because on that piece of wall there is a genuine Banksy. The family who own the arcade are fed up with having to look after this treasure, which depicts an old woman, and want to sell it, to raise money for cancer research.

Robin Barton, a London art dealer who is supervising its removal, told the Kent Messenger that the family “don’t really care” how Folkestone people feel about losing their Banksy, they just want it off their hands.