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
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Life and Style
fashionThe Secret Angels all take home huge sums - but who earns the most?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
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

DT Teacher - Resistant Materials

£33000 - £34000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: Technology Teacher (Resis...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission, 1st yr OTE £30-£40k : SThree:...

Middleware Support Analyst

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Senior Java Developer/Designer

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: My client are looking fo...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?