Village People: Off the map

Nick Clegg is said to be furious about the appointment of Lord Ashcroft, that immensely generous contributor to Conservative Party funds, as the Government's new adviser on defence matters.

I do not want to get embroiled in the argument over whether his lordship's collection of old military medals makes him a suitable appointment, but I do hope that he will not be distracted from his mission to question ministers about parts of the world none of us have ever been to.

It is only through Lord Ashcroft's questioning that we learnt this week that three places in the world have never been visited by a British minister, ever – the Chagos Islands, Nauru and Tuvali. Nauru and Tuvali are the world's smallest countries (unless you count The Vatican). Chagos is the least populated, because its people were scandalously deported to make way for a US military base. It used to be thought Lord Ashcroft's enduring interest in remote corners of the old British Empire was part of a restless search for places where he could sink his money, safe from the British taxman. But now he is officially domiciled in the UK, that can no longer be true.

Daggers drawn

UKIP is not a happy ship. This week, they lost an MEP, David Campbell Bannerman, who used to be a Tory, ratted to UKIP, and has re-ratted back to the Tories. And the amazing row between their two MEPs from the South East, Nigel Farage and Marta Andreasen, gathers pace. It started with her call for a new leader to replace Farage after a disappointing showing in the local elections. He retaliated by telling the BBC that she had not even set foot in the UK "for several months". She fired off a letter telling him that his was "a blatant lie", and yesterday she issued a warning that "I cannot and will not tolerate such an untruth. I am now considering other avenues of redress." Never mind independence from Europe. What Farage needs is to avoid fiery Spaniards.

Happy recovery

The cameras cut away from Barack Obama's speech in Parliament to catch a shot of Ken Clarke snoozing, but, quite rightly, they did not broadcast a more alarming interruption to the President's speech, when the MP, Jeremy Lefroy, collapsed and was taken to hospital. He had become dehydrated, through food poisoning. He was out of hospital the same evening, and his office said yesterday that he was back at work in his Stafford constituency.

Bashful Cameron

David Cameron's press conference in the garden of Downing Street at Barack Obama's side contrasts with an attack of shyness which seems to have come between him and political journalists. Tony Blair used to hold monthly press conferences which went on and on, giving dozens of journalists the chance to ask a range of questions. Later these events were infected by the curse of Gordon Brown, because every time he was due to hold one, a bad news story sudenly broke, taking attention away from whatever Brown hoped to say.

Now these events have been quietly brought to a close. David Cameron has not held one since October. There was one announced in February, but it was called off when the PM added Egypt to a tour of the Gulf. There are no plans for another in the near future.

"He likes to keep it more flexible," one No 10 insider said, pointing out that Mr Cameron regularly takes questions from the media when he makes speeches, meets foreign leaders or is at international summits such as the G8 meeting in Deauville which ended yesterday. But this allows him to restrict questions to a handful, much less of an ordeal than those hour-long sessions.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
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

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam