Andy McSmith's Diary: Ukip's Neil Hamilton left embarrassed after he claimed that a former MP visited bondage clubs on BBC Newsnight

The party's deputy chairman has since apologised 'unreservedly' to Allan Rogers

Neil Hamilton, the deputy chairman of Ukip, is responsible for Newsnight’s latest excruciating embarrassment.

Interviewed on the BBC programme, he attempted to revive an old story about the sex life of the former Labour MP for Bootle, Allan Roberts, who died in 1990. Inadvertently, he named another former Labour MP, with a similar name, still alive, who has never indulged in the kind of sado-masochistic practices Hamilton was talking about.

What is extraordinary about this story is not that Hamilton was trying to be clever and made an ass of himself, which is normal, but that he is ever invited on to television.

It should not be forgotten that during a libel trial in the 1990s, three witnesses testified to the effect that Hamilton demanded and was paid £10,000 in 1989 by the oil company Mobil for tabling an amendment to a Finance Bill that potentially could have saved the company millions in tax. And a secretary who had worked for the Harrods boss Mohamed al-Fayed testified that she “vividly” remembered the white envelopes stuffed with cash – £50 notes, she believed – with Neil Hamilton’s name on.

Hamilton is worse than a fool: he was a corrupt politician whose notoriety cost the Conservatives one of their safest seats in 1997. Why the BBC seeks his view on anything is a mystery.

Gove’s IDS rescue bid fails

MPs were not at their most sweet tempered as they discussed Iain Duncan Smith’s attempted welfare reforms. The Labour MP Chris Bryant suggested that there had been so many conflicting statements coming out of the Department for Work and Pensions that it was as if the Government was “engaged in a deliberate act of deception”.

This provoked cries of protest from the Tories, notably from Michael Gove, who demanded a yellow card for Bryant from the Speaker. But John Bercow cannot stand the sight of Gove, and replied archly: “I know what I am doing and I certainly do not require any help from the Education Secretary – that would be completely unimaginable.”

A minute later, Duncan Smith accused Bryant of making “the most pompous, ludicrous statement I have ever heard”. Nice.

Reckless whips up a storm

Mark Reckless asked David Cameron something reasonably straightforward during PMQs, arising from an old interview with a Tory whip named Tim Fortescue, dug up by some sharp-witted BBC researcher.

Fortescue, who was a Tory MP between 1966 and 1973, claimed that if an MP came to the whips and confessed that he was in trouble because he was in debt or “because of a scandal involving small boys” the whips would protect him, to ensure his future loyalty.

Reckless asked if this was in order. Cameron accused him of being “Delphic” and suggested he write a letter. Mr Reckless tells me that he will be writing, and not just to the Prime Minister. Lord Ryder and Lord Goodlad, who were successive Tory chief whips in the 1990s, will also be getting letters asking if they still hold any information about MPs.

Reckless says: “It strikes me as wrong if taxpayers’ money is used to collect and store information on MPs. If any whip has ever been aware of any other whip threatening to disclose information to influence the way an MP votes that amounts to blackmail.”

Kinky goings-on at PMQs

Trading statistics about the NHS waiting times with Ed Miliband, David Cameron used the word “lower” three times, which – amusingly – came out on the BBC rolling news caption as “lola.” That is the title of a Kinks song about gender confusion – kinky.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Content Leader

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role requires a high level...

Recruitment Genius: Multi Drop Driver

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This food distribution company ...

Recruitment Genius: Multi Drop Driver

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This food distribution company ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent