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Overheard in Westminster: Army drafted in over expenses, shock Carol Vorderman endorsement

Sir Arbuthnot's quiet afternoon pint at the Red Lion yesterday afternoon was very rudely interrupted by all hell breaking loose thanks to Nadine Dorries and Boris Johnson. Hopefully, politicians will get out of the way this sunny weekend and leave Beachcomber in peace...


The week's best political gossip.. (Image: Red Lion)

Expenses-abusing MPs to be court-martialled

Following the revelations a couple of weeks ago that four MPs had been allowed to claim driving fines on expenses, questions began to swirl around whether the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), the independent body that oversees MPs’ expenses claims, is still up to the job.

It now seems IPSA themselves have realised they need a bit more regimented oversight.

Beachcomber can reveal that Brigadier Jonathon Blair-Tidewell has been drafted in as the body’s new Compliance Officer, effective 30 May.

The Brigadier served in the British Army for 26 years before deciding the House of Commons was in need of some rigorous boot camp training about what MPs can and cannot claim on the taxpayer’s dime.

According to IPSA, Blair-Tidewell was “responsible for the deployment, sustainment, and recovery of all UK military forces on operations worldwide” as well as having toured Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Cyprus.

Even those brave missions may pale in comparison if he tries standing in the way of certain MPs and their questionable expense claims…

IPSA's new compliance officer

IPSA's new compliance officer (Image: Jonathon Blair-Tidewell Linkedin)

Crunch Tory Mayoral weekend

While the Tory party eats itself alive, the usual cogs of politics haven’t stopped turning. Sir Arbuthnot hears this weekend is a make-or-break moment for Tory hopefuls vying to become the party’s London Mayoral candidate. 

On Sunday all seven candidates are heading into Party HQ for an interview, with the final three being decided that day. 

On Monday morning the three successful candidates are booked in for a meeting in Downing Street, presumably to talk about their plans and directions for London and the campaign. 

In more worrying news for the party, this selection timetable is already running a week behind schedule compared to the timeline drafted two months ago…

Tory Mayoral Hopeful Paul Scully Takes Aim at London's Lower Speed Limits

Tory Mayoral frontrunner Paul Scully (Image: Getty)

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Tory leaflet undermines Countdown Carol’s outrage

Carol Vorderman has recently transformed herself into a darling of the anti-Tory Twitter mob, constantly accusing the Government of corruption, lies, sleaze and all the rest.

Yesterday she branded Boris Johnson “disgusting” and accused him of “robbing and gaslighting”.

Carol didn’t always have the same politics, however.

It’s well documented that way back in the halcyon days of 2010 she actively supported the Conservative Party and David Cameron, defending them on Question Time and even rocking up at Party HQ in Milbank from time to time.

Now Beachcomber can reveal her support didn’t stop there - with her making appearances on official Tory Party campaign literature.

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Carole Vorderman Tory leaflet

Carole Vorderman front and centre of Tory election literature (Image: Conservative Party)

A long-forgotten "magazine" for older voters, produced printed and published by Tory HQ, featured a beaming Carol on the front page and a promise from her that the Conservative Party would improve education.

Her review of the Labour Government was damning: “A thriving economy depends on a thriving education system. Pupils can’t learn and teachers can’t teach when lessons are disrupted. And all too often, parents can’t get their children into the first choice school”.

Beachcomber’s not sure Carol's newfound hard-left base of Twitter supporters would react too kindly to his archival discovery…