Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

UK Politics

Village People: Battle of the chairs

A sub-plot to this dramatic week was the lively turf war between the chairmen of the two Commons select committees with an interest in the hacking affair.

In the red corner was Keith Vaz, Labour chairman of the Home Affairs committee, and in the blue corner John Whittingdale Conservative chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport committee.

Round one went to Vaz, who worked the studios and was on every news bulletin. But then the plodding Whittingdale blindsided him by threatening the Murdochs with a visit from the Serjeant at Arms unless they showed up at next week's hearing. Vaz managed a late comeback by summoning senior plod for a rival emergency hearing next Tuesday, but the judges agreed that Whittingdale won on points. Meanwhile, as the News of the World was put being put together on Saturday night, grieving hacks noticed that Headliners, Wapping's in-house hair salon, was open late for a very important customer. I name no names, but the hair was long and flaming red.

Only folking!

Quote of the week comes from Monday's Hansard: Bob Russell (Lib Dem): "Will the Secretary of State for Education do something to promote English folk dance and song?" Michael Gove (Con): "Oscar Wilde once said that one should try everything in life once, apart from folk dancing and incest. I think he was only 50 per cent right."

Economy stubbed out?

The economic warning of the week was brought to us by Lord Palmer, of the Huntley & Palmers biscuit family, who said: "If smoking was completely outlawed, the entire British economy would literally collapse." Many thanks are due to the nation's nicotine addicts for saving us from a fate worse than the Greeks.