Diary: There's a hole in our budget, dear Philip, dear Philip...

Our diarist on the mystery of Trident's reappearing funds, Nadine Dorries' voting mistake and some bare-faced cheek in Whitehall

Share
Related Topics

Paying for Britain’s nuclear deterrent, Trident, is a mysterious business. Conservative ministers complain of being left by the Labour government with a large hole in the defence budget, including the multibillion-pound commitment to renew the submarine-launched ballistic missile system for which, allegedly, no funds were set aside. But the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond says the “black hole” in the defence budget is now sorted and Trident has its place within the core defence programme. To seek more information, however, is like setting out on a mystery tour.

There is an exercise under way to look into possible alternatives to Trident, as demanded by the Liberal Democrats. How much is that costing, the former Labour Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth enquired, in a Commons written question. The question was passed across to Danny Alexander, the senior Liberal Democrat in the Treasury. “The costs of the review are met from within existing departmental budgets and … are not centrally recorded,” was his reply this week.

A Trident missile was test-fired in the Atlantic last month. What did that cost, asked the Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, in a separate written question. “The cost cannot be disaggregated,” a junior Defence minister, Philip Dunne, answered. The SNP’s Angus Robertson was interested in the Trident we already have. “How much has been spent on the maintenance, operation and re-fitting of Trident submarines in each of the last 10 years,” he asked, in yet another written question. This time, no lesser person than the Defence Secretary himself replied, if you can call it a reply. “It is not possible to provide full costs for the Vanguard class for the whole of the last 10 years,” he wrote. Thanks so much for keeping us in the picture.

Dorries’ exit poll proves wildly inaccurate

Part of Nadine Dorries’s rationale for appearing on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! was asserting that “more people vote in X Factor than in elections”. I’m grateful to Tim Glanfield, in Radio Times, for this fact: in 2010, 29,691,380 people voted in the general election, in which it is illegal to vote more than once. The same year’s X Factor, in which you can vote as often as you like, drew 15,448,019 votes.

Caught between a  rock and a hard drive

David Sprason, a Tory county councillor in Leicestershire, suffered a moment’s absent-mindedness in 2007. He and his wife, Sue, also a councillor, watched a porn DVD called She Likes It Rough on a laptop owned by the council. The computer crashed. Mr Sprason took it to be fixed. A little later, he received an letter from a monitoring officer telling him he forgot to remove the disk, which was being sent to police to see if it contained criminal content. It didn’t and there the matter lay dormant, until that letter was leaked to the Leicester Mercury. Mr Sprason has now stepped down from his position as deputy county council leader while his party whip investigates.

The bare-faced cheek of it…

A naked man brought traffic in Whitehall to a standstill on Friday by climbing a statue of the Duke of Cambridge (not the current Duke, a grandson of King George III). The only person who publicly threatened to do anything of that sort was pundit Iain Dale who, on election night in 2010, vouchsafed to run naked down Whitehall if the Liberal Democrats really had as few MPs as the exit polls were predicting. They did, but Mr Dale’s promise is unkept.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia  

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Oliver Poole
Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup