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Friday 31st October 2014
“Sunlight is the best disinfectant”, David Cameron said once, and the Government has today published its quarterly transparency returns.
Just in case you don’t have the desire to wade through the documents yourself, here are a few of the interesting bits:
- Tory Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin was given a gift worth more than £140 of “Traditional Tea Pot and Cups” by Chinese property giant Wanda Group. Letwin has decided against buying the gift and so it is currently being held in the British embassy at Beijing.
- David Cameron bought shoes worth £279 from Oliver Sweeney.
- Moldova’s prime minister gave Cameron wine worth more than £140 which was then used for official entertainment;
- The President of Afghanistan offered a “trinket box and coat” to the PM which is currently being held;
- Interpol is also in the business of handing out gifts, apparently. The police cooperation body gave a £150 watch which the PM decided to purchase.
- Nick Clegg was given “food items” from Lord Alliance worth more than £140. Hopefully they weren’t perishables because they are still being held by the department.
Wednesday 29th October 2014
As a former First Sea Lord and, arguably more pertinently, a minister in Gordon Brown’s government, Lord West is quite familiar with the importance of peacemaking.
The skill proved handy when he defused a potential incident with the Occupy protesters on Parliament Square.
West recounted the events to the Lords yesterday:
“When I was being driven past in my car in my full uniform, they [protesters] came and stood in front of the car and I managed to stop an incident because my Royal Marine driver said, ‘Shall I re-educate them, sir?’ and I said, ‘Not today’.”
Home Office Minister Lord Bates almost seemed in awe to West as he responded quickly:
“The noble Lord is absolutely right— I fully agree with him.”
Wednesday 29th October 2014
The debate rages on over David Cameron's refusal to wear a pro-feminist t-shirt.
Nick Clegg did it. Benedict Cumberbatch and Ed Miliband did it too. And today Harriet Harman was wearing the very garment (emblazoned with the phrase: "This is what a feminist looks like) at Prime Minister's Questions.
Take that Dave!
How did we get here? Last year, Cameron was asked by the women’s magazine Red whether he was a feminist. He paused, before replying: "I don’t know what I’d call myself… it’s up to others to attach labels."
The PM later told Channel 4 News: ‘When I was asked that question, what I should have said is, if that means equal rights for women, then yes. If that is what you mean by feminist, then yes, I am a feminist."
This week, Lorraine Candy, the editor-in-chief of Elle said: "We asked the Prime Minister five times if he would wear the Fawcett Society’s iconic This Is What A Feminist Looks Like slogan T-shirt and send us a snapshot... Five times, he declined. This is a shame on so many levels."
Since then No 10 has refused to say whether the Prime Minister has any plans to wear the T-shirt, but instead said the PM is focused on policies in Government aimed at better equality for women.
The whole tale may prove to be a salutory lesson for ambitious Tories destined for greater things. So what does former Olympian and Tory hopeful James Cracknell think of the F word?
In a recent interview with the Evening Standard, Cracknell would not define himself as a feminist. And he said that neither would his wife, Beverley Turner. He told the paper:
“Erm. I don’t know if Bev is either. She has an incredibly strong sense of justice, as do I.”
Cracknell was speaking to the Standard just a few days before the Cameron t-shirt furore broke out. Obviously.
Monday 27th October 2014
A member of the public ran into David Cameron as he left a meeting in Leeds. After member of the PM's security team intervened, the man was bundled away and the prime minister got into a waiting vehicle. See the video here via ITV News
Thursday 23rd October 2014
The long weeks of campaigning are over and the results are finally in.
Rob Flello's Diesel is said to have been “delighted” by his victory in the Kennel Club’s MP Dog of the Year competition today.
Michael Gove’s Snowy came in second place and even earned a mention in the House of Commons for his trouble.
Labour’s Kevin Brennan was poking a bit of fun at Gove during the Business Statement and pointed to his recent Francis Urquhart impression and Game of Thrones tribute to suggest that the Leader of the House should be concerned by the “attention-seeking antics” of the Chief Whip.
When the Snowy news broke, however, Brennan took the opportunity to correct the record with a point of order.
“May I take the opportunity to apologise to the Leader of the House for suggesting during the Business Statement that he was wrong when he said the Government Chief Whip was gainfully employed? I understand the Government Chief Whip and his dog Snowy have just come runners-up in the Parliamentary Dog of the Year competition so I withdraw the implication that he hasn’t got much to do with his time.”