Gordon Henderson, the Tory MP who represents the good burghers of Sittingbourne and Sheppey, must have a political death wish. Having been asked in a ConservativeHome survey which non-Tory politician he most admires, he replied "Nigel Farage" - possibly the answer most likely toguarantee that he will remain a backbencher for ever.
How very cruel of David Cameron to dash the junior health minister Anne Milton's plan to become known as "Daughter of the Milk Snatcher". I remember being at primary school in the early 1970s when we were told that school milk was to be abolished. I cheered. I hated the disgusting stuff. I hadn't even heard of Margaret Thatcher before that moment but it was then, at the age of ten, that I became a Thatcherite.
Sorry to dash the hopes of Lib Dem activists up and down the country, but contrary to what the Daily Mail reported on 7 August, there are absolutely no plans for William Hague to address their conference in Liverpool next month. The Mail had got very excited at the prospect and quoted anonymous Tory sources who reckoned Hague would give a "witty" address, rather than focusing heavily on policy. Sadly, his "wittiness" will be available only in Birmingham.
Ever since his appearance on the Daily Politics, I have been engaged in a robust debate with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) board member Ken Olisa about the incompetence of his organisation. He's now batted the ball firmly into my court and invited me to visit Ipsa, so I can see the marvellous work they do. He has even encouraged me to bring along a friend. So far, more than a dozen MPs and research assistants have volunteered, each with a rather malevolent grin.
I'm in the middle of a month-long stint presenting LBC's evening show and, in the absence of any real news, we decided to ask our listeners: "Should the NHS be privatised?" We invited the former Labour health secretary Frank Dobson to come on to help set the scene. When told who the presenter was, he called me a "Tory git". Half right. I feared the worst but, in the event, it proved to be a very thoughtful interview, with no voices raised. He was followed by Mark Littlewood, formerly Ming Campbell's spinmeister. He took the line that, yes, the NHS should be privatised. It never ceases to amaze me how very right-wing some Liberal Democrats have become. It's the company they're keeping . . .
I'm sorry to say that Charles Clarke disputes my report last week about a conversation that he was overheard having with Anji Hunter at the Haymarket Hotel in London. I'm sorry because my intention was not to offend. I have a high regard for the old bruiser, who was a good constituency MP and a good minister. He deserved better treatment from Blair. The point of my diary item was to highlight how difficult it can be for some former MPs to find a role after they leave the Commons, but I'm glad to hear that's not the case for Charles.