Village People: PM goes undercover on the campaign trail

David Cameron spent three hours in Oldham East and Saddleworth, scene of a by-election where some people suspect the Tories are pulling their punches to avoid hurting the Lib Dems. The Prime Minister's visibility was so low at times that reporters on the scene starting wondering what he might be doing.

I now learn that he spent part of his visit enjoying a quiet beverage with his entourage in the Bower Hotel in Oldham. A man who was in the hotel bar at the time tells me that he and other drinkers were startled when a fleet of cars swept into the hotel car park and the place was suddenly crawling with police.

Then a group of visitors was seen being ushered to a back entrance, which unfortunately was locked. The group came to the front, and the astonished guests spotted the Prime Minister. My spy tells me: "First we thought it was the cops bringing somebody who had grassed up on a drugs deal for a secret debriefing – but it was Mr Cameron, who came in looking like somebody who thought he was appropriately dressed for the area but wasn't. They ordered tea and coffee for about a dozen people."

MP shows how to avoid greedy landlords

Looking back at Hansard for 17 November 1998, I notice that David Chaytor, MP for Bury North, used parliamentary privilege to name seven property companies in the Manchester area which he accused of being extortionate landlords.

He demanded government action on behalf of tenants. In his own life, Mr Chaytor found a foolproof way to avoid dodgy landlords. In London, he was his own landlord. In Bury, he "rented" a house from his mother. And yesterday he began 18 months as a guest of Her Majesty.

Death of a Thatcherite with a whiff of sulphur

People old enough and sufficiently right-wing enough to have cheered when Margaret Thatcher's government broke the miners' strike 25 years ago will be mourning the death this week of David Hart, who scurried around the coalfields on the government's behalf enlisting strikebreakers. He was also a special adviser to Michael Portillo and Malcolm Rifkind in the Ministry of Defence.

David's uncle, Herbert Hart, an eminent Oxford don, worked for MI5 in the war. By contrast, his aunt Jenifer came under suspicion in the 1960s of having been a Soviet spy. She admitted she had been a Communist, and had been approached by a Soviet agent in the 1930s who told her to "go underground" – but denied passing secrets.

Her interrogator, Peter Wright, another weird product of the world of spooks, described her as "a fussy middle-class woman, too old, I thought, for the fashionable short skirt and white net stockings she was wearing".

In Thursday's Daily Telegraph, a laudatory obituary of David remarked that "there were many, notably in the Tory Party, who detected a whiff of sulphur about Hart. His enemies likened him to Rasputin and accused him of being an agent of the CIA, the KGB or Mossad, or all three." Strange guy, but very useful to the Thatcher government.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk