An image is circulating on Twitter which purports to be a handwritten note to a Tory MP — a reminder to not to “talk about food banks”:

One of the few Tory critics of the DWP when it comes to food poverty, Jeremy Lefroy hosted the launch of a report from Child Poverty Action Group and other charities last Wednesday — before asking a topical question of Cabinet Office ministers on National Citizen Service.

Is it possible that the Stafford MP needed to be reminded not to embarrass ministers by raising the issue of food banks?

Taxi light

One of the worst sections of former Tory minister David Mellor’s class war rant (£) against his “little fucking stupid shit” of a cabbie was in which he threatened to use his LBC radio show to shame the driver in front of colleagues:

“I have so many cabbies [that] when I get into a cab they listen to my show and they are proud to do so and I’m going to tell them what you’ve done.

“A lot of your old friends listen to my programme. They think I’m good. They know I’m a big supporter of black cabs. Do you think they are going to say ‘Wonderful, clever little guy’, because they’re not.

No, they’re not. They’re asking for a public apology from Mellor instead!

Simon Rush, president of the GMB professional drivers branch:

“Whatever the reason for this loutish verbal attack on a working person by this politician, it is unacceptable behaviour, not only on the road but in any workplace anywhere.

“This is not the first time we have seen arrogance and conceit from Mr Mellor. A public apology from Mr Mellor is in order.

Steve McNamara of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association:

“This sort of behaviour is just not on. It’s the type of snobby behaviour by politicians we thought was consigned to the past.

Amazingly, LBC are refusing to comment — despite one of their presenters using the platform to bully the driver.

Car wash

Proposed by Labour backbencher Clive Efford, the National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill would roll back privatisation by repealing key aspects of the Tories’ flagship Health and Social Care Act 2012.

Unfortunately it stands no chance of becoming law in this parliament. As a private members’ bill, the coalition don’t even need to turn up to kill it off — they simply deny it time, which was one reason why it passed on Friday by 241 votes to 18 (with backing from, errr, UKIP).

If you’re going to miss the debate and vote, however, why not do so in style.

Apparently Oliver Colvile MP cares more about getting his convertible sports car washed than the future of the National Health Service:

Colvile barely knows what day it is at the best of times.

Two years ago he claimed to be in Northern Ireland — when Commons records clearly showed he was in the chamber voting against a motion on food banks.

With speculation rife about further defections, UKIP have quietly moved a selected candidate in the East Midlandscreating a vacancy in one of their target seats. Sherwood (majority 214) is not only the 15th most marginal constituency in the UK but in the top 20 ‘UKIP friendly’ Conservative seats.

Having been selected last December, the UKIP Nottinghamshire website still lists one Simon Ashcroft as the candidate for the constituency. Odd, then, that he has recently written a letter to the newspaper of a neighbouring constituency claiming to be the UKIP candidate there:

Simon Ashcroft UKIP Ashfield Chad letter

Scrapbook understands that Ashcroft has indeed been moved to Ashfield, with implausible-sounding explanations offered at the local level. References to his original selection are also being stuffed down the memory hole. This tweet, from 5 December, has been deleted at some point since 10 October (cached):

Tweet on UKIP's Simon Ashcroft

So who has Ashcroft rolled over for? Sitting Sherwood Tory MP Mark Spencer was forced to deny Scrapbook’s suggestions that he might jump ship — but private polling suggests that the seat would a tough ask for any UKIP candidate other than a defecting incumbent.

An explosive row with the sitting UKIP candidate marred Douglas Carswell’s defection. Could the advance removal of Ashcroft be part of a package to tempt Spencer across the aisle?

The Sun logo

Last Tuesday’s court evidence revealing a Sun journalist referring to his own readers as plebs didn’t stop the red top splashing on Emily Thornberry’s supposed snobbery later in the week:

But evidence continues to mount of the contempt for readers in some quarters of the newsroom. Former Sun showbiz hack Marina Hyde:

I remember one discussion about an interview that someone had done with a reader. “What was the house like?” the editor sniggered with a grimace. “Don’t tell me – sticky carpet. Did you wipe your feet on the way out?”

Hyde goes on to reveal that another editor, Rebekah Brooks, insisted on holding executive away days at the same holiday camps to which the newspaper sent its readers on bargain promotions:

The events were viewed with dread, with senior staff ordered to immerse themselves in their surroundings, as though they were places of positively Martian otherness.

This certainly makes a change from Brooks’ personal travel habits: flying to Venice from Oxford airport for lunch at Harry’s bar and a spot of sightseeing before jetting back to London in time for dinner at Wiltons in Jermyn Street.

George Osborne

The destination for parliamentary bag carriers hunting their next assignment, visitors to the W4MP website were left scratching their heads at the mysterious advert from a “senior Conservative Frontbench MP” posted earlier today.

With the employers’ submission form stating that “We do not accept ads from un-named MPs or organisations”, advertisers on the free Westminster jobs board are required to give their names …

W4MP rule

… unless, that is, they happen to be the chancellor, George Osborne.

George Osborne job

Experience in fetching takeouts from Byron and getting free first class upgrades from Wilmslow to Euston could be advantageous.

Great line from Nick Clegg in his monthly press conference …

… if he wasn’t, errr …

Nick Clegg

… the bloke who famously apologised for making a promise he later claimed was unachievable.

Lib Dem rosette

A senior Liberal Democrat councillor is currently fighting for his political survivalchallenging claims that he is a “serious and enduring threat to children”. Cllr Alex Folkes was forced from his cabinet role with Cornwall Council over historic allegations linking his credit card to a website featuring child abuse imagery.

No charges were brought after a 2006 arrest (possibly in Operation Ore) with Folkes, who was elected three years later, claiming that his card had been cloned. Whatever the truth of the matter, the Lib Dems’ apparent attempts to prevent news of “serious child protection concerns” entering the public domain will ring alarm bells for anyone familiar with recent systemic failures in Rotherham or Portsmouth.

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