Andy McSmith's Diary: Who needs a food bank when you’ve got fancy restaurants?

 

Liam Marshall-Ascough, a Conservative member of Crawley Borough Council in West Sussex, was once styled the “Virgin politician” because of his day job as a member of Virgin Airlines’ cabin crew. A virgin he may be, but innocent he is not. He has made his mark by pushing through stricter rules for getting on Crawley’s housing register, to keep Romanians and Bulgarians off it, and has obstructed a plan to introduce a food bank in the town hall, because he frankly does not think it is necessary.

“People aren’t in poverty in terms of going without food,” he tells the latest edition of the Crawley News. “You try booking a restaurant in Crawley on a Friday or Saturday night. You can’t do it.”

An ambitious, youngish Tory who thinks food banks are used by the same people who to eat out at restaurants: I predict a great political career in the making.

The root of Todd’s problems

“From an early age, my grandfather instilled in me one key value: never, ever forget your roots,” Bianca Todd announced in The Guardian newspaper earlier this month, as she accused Ed Miliband of forgetting his.

In the 1980s, her grandfather, Ron Todd, was the most powerful trade unionist in the land, the general-secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, whose massive block vote was the principle obstacle in the path of Neil Kinnock’s efforts to steer Labour into the centre ground. Todd’s granddaughter is a leading light in the Unite union and of Left Unity, which seeks to pull together the disparate groups left of the Labour Party.

An employment tribunal last week awarded three former staff of a Leicestershire youth organisation, Children: Homes, Advice and Teaching Ltd (C:HAT Room), more than £2,000 in unpaid wages and other monies owed to them. They had worked for C:HAT Room for about six months without being given contracts. The company’s head of service is Bianca Todd – she who never, ever forgets her roots.

Right result for Bone

Last month, I wrote that the Tory right was at risk of losing its most far-out MP, Peter Bone, because of a police investigation into a dispute he has had with Northamptonshire County Council over the cost of caring for his mother-in-law. That danger has passed. The police are not pressing charges because “no element of dishonesty could be proved”, though there is still a separate unresolved civil case.

Men behaving badly

With their popularity nationally bumping along near the bottom, the Liberal Democrats have not been helped at a local level by the way some of their councillors have been behaving. Stephen Fenwick, a member of Sutton Council, has pleaded guilty to committing a racially aggravated assault on a barman in central London, after he had been knocking back the booze during a football match. He was given a year’s conditional discharge, has been disowned by the Sutton Lib Dems, and according to the Epsom Guardian, he is banned from several pubs. But he is still a councillor.

So is Peter Brock, elected as a Liberal Democrat to Yeovil Town Council, where David Laws is the local MP. Brock was sentenced to carry out a 12-month community order after he admitted stealing £1,231 from the Royal British Legion. If the sentence had been harsher, he would have been automatically disqualified. As it is, the town council has no power to compel him to resign.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
Bafetibis Gomis of Swansea City is stretchered off at White Hart Lane
football
News
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
Sport
footballLouis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
News
The spider makes its break for freedom
VIDEO
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
people
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Life and Style
love + sex
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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: Media Sales Executive - PR and Broadcast - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has an exciting op...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor - Shifts

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This European market leader for security...

Recruitment Genius: Freelance AutoCAD Technician

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Freelance AutoCAD Technician is required to ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Order Processor

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This European market leader for security...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot