Andy McSmith's Diary: Why the Tories won’t let sleeping dogs (or rats) lie

 

Politicians don't like rats, to use an old name for people who jump from one party to another, especially if they hold a seat to which they were elected under their old colours.

This explains the particular contempt Tories have for Roger Helmer, who was elected to the European Parliament as a Conservative in 1999, 2004 and 2009, only to announce a year ago that he was joining Ukip.

His beef was that when he retired he wanted his seat to be taken over by fellow Tory Rupert Matthews. But head office were not having Mr Matthews, because they judged that someone who believes in ghosts and aliens, and who published a book with a picture of a golliwog on the cover, was bad news.

Yesterday, the Tory MEP Julie Girling took revenge on Mr Helmer for ratting by snapping a picture of him and posting it on Twitter with the caption “Ukip MEPs hard at work in the European Parliament.”,

Osborne finds a defender in the Mogg

George Osborne may have been isolated in Brussels, where he was the only EU finance minister speaking out against a proposal to limit bankers' bonuses, but he is not isolated back in the UK. He has the backbench MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg on his side. During Treasury questions in the Commons yesterday, the Mogg remarked: “Although article 153(5) of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union may be esoteric to some, it is rather important because it prohibits the European Union from running an incomes policy… will the Chancellor take it to the European Court of Justice?”

What a great court case that would make, with British lawyers trying to convince European judges that the European Parliament was doing what UK governments used to do before Margaret Thatcher came along. “I am delighted to answer your question,” the Treasury minister, Greg Clark, replied. Then, like a true politician, he did not answer.

Huhne (i): Early booking essential

Hansard records in December 2008 that a Home Office minister, answering a question from a Liberal Democrat MP, namely Chris Huhne, disclosed that 2,700 new prison places would be made available in the year to April 2013, but none in 2013-14. So they got them built just in time.

Huhne (ii): the latest unwritten chapter

One of Chris Huhne's last public acts prior to being sentenced was to contribute two chapters to “The Green Book”, the latest set of policy ideas for the Liberal Democrats. Appropriately, it was left to the policy adviser Tim Leunig, known as “the barmy boffin”, to compose the chapter headed “Reducing Emissions from Transport”. You do not need to be a boffin to know that one way to reduce transport emissions is to observe speed limits.

A regal and discerning taste in newspapers

In the new batch of photographs of the Queen's private room in Balmoral, released ahead of Sunday's screening of the new ITV documentary, Our Queen, you can see the range of newspapers she takes. Alongside the Racing Post and a couple of Scottish papers there are some national newspapers. But not all. There is a Daily Mirror, but no Sun, a Daily Mail but no Express, The Times but no Financial Times and – most important of all –The Independent, but no Guardian. What a discerning reader.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
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

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world