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.

Sport
sportGareth Bale, Carl Froch and Kelly Gallagher also in the mix for award
News
Japan's Suntory Beverage & Food has bought GlaxoSmithKline's Lucozade and Ribena
news
News
A tongue-eating louse (not the one Mr Poli found)
newsParasitic louse appeared inside unfilleted sea bass
Life and Style
The reindeer pen at the attraction
lifeLaurence Llewelyn-Bowen's 'Magical Journey' and other winter blunderlands
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
Tana Ramsay gave evidence in a legal action in which her husband, Gordon, is accusing her father, Christopher Hutcheson, of using a ghost writer machine to “forge” his signature
peopleTana Ramsay said alleged discovery was 'extremely distressing'
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Windsor and Aljaz Skorjanec rehearse their same-sex dance together on Strictly Come Dancing
TV
Money
Anyone over the age of 40 seeking a loan with a standard term of 25 years will be borrowing beyond a normal retirement age of 65, and is liable to find their options restricted
propertyAnd it's even worse if you're 40
Arts and Entertainment
Perhaps longest awaited is the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road with Brazil’s Walter Salles directing and Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen as the Beat-era outsiders
books
Arts and Entertainment
theatreSinger to join cast of his Broadway show after The Last Ship flounders at the box office
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

Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor

£30000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Employment Solicitor - Ke...

Argyll Scott International: Risk Assurance Manager

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Hi All, I'm currently recruiting for t...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Ashdown Group: IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

Day In a Page

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'