Nadine Dorries will show her face once more in the House of Commons today, in a combative mood that is not adding to her popularity among fellow MPs.
Her main excuse for her unusual absence is that she missed only three parliamentary days while she was on I’m a Celebrity ...Get Me Out Of Here! – which is not strictly true, because she was actually absent for 10 separate days when there was business in the Commons, though she is discounting most of them on the grounds that the business was light, with no whipped votes.
It is also a bit weak, because she would have missed many more parliamentary days, including the one when George Osborne delivers the Autumn Statement, if more reality TV viewers had voted to keep her in the programme.
She has declared that women MPs who disapprove of her jaunt in the jungle are driven by jealousy. She has accused Labour MPs who have criticised her of hypocrisy, because they have disappeared at different times on foreign trips. She is also coming close to calling the Tory whips liars, with her repeated claim that she was granted a month’s absence by Andrew Mitchell when he was Chief Whip – although she admits that she did not tell anyone what she was going away to do. The whips are saying this is not true.
One of the first demands on her time, now she is back, will be to meet the current Chief Whip, Sir George Young, to “explain herself”. Her membership of the Conservative parliamentary party is suspended until she does, but it appears that she is in no mood to explain, still less to apologise, which will make it difficult for Sir George to readmit her.
Bank chief should follow rockers’ lead
A trivial fact about the new Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, is that he is a known fan of the Australian hard rock band AC/DC, whose top selling album was Back in Black – which, we hope, is the direction in which Mr Carney will take the nation’s finances.
Herman’s mournful haiku
The EU President Herman van Rompuy is in a gloomy mood after the failure of this weekend’s summit. “Herfst eind november: De nacht is vallend./De kale takken zien er/Nog eenzamer uit,” he Tweeted mournfully. At least he kindly provided a translation for his UK readership: “Autumn end November: The night has fallen/The bare branches can be seen/Even more lonely.”
Chris Bryant survives Putin ‘smear’ – just
Yesterday’s meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia was extraordinarily well attended, especially given that it coincided with David Cameron’s statement to the Commons on the EU summit.
The issue that brought parliamentarians out in such numbers was whether to re-elect or sack the chairman, Chris Bryant, a columnist for this newspaper and a vociferous critic of the Putin administration. He was re-elected, though the vote was closer than he might have liked, at 43 to 30.
Unrepentant hack tells police where to go
Paul McMullan, the former News of the World hack, was one of the liveliest witnesses to appear before Lord Leveson’s inquiry into press ethics because he talked freely about all sorts of nefarious and possibly criminal practices that he and colleagues had indulged in, and seemed unable to get his mind around why anyone should think there was anything wrong.
Privacy, he memorably said, “is for paedos”. However, he is himself very private about where he lives. At the inquiry, he gave his address as the Castle Pub, in Dover. It was there that officers from Operation Elveden investigating payments to police officers visited him yesterday.
True to form, McMullan said afterwards: “I told them there is nothing wrong with paying for information, Operation Elveden is bollocks and they should try investigating real crime instead of hanging around my pub, and they left.”