A matter of choice
Stephen Gilbert, Liberal Democrat MP for St Austell and Newquay, raised the issue of nightclubs and bars exploiting a legal loophole to host lapdancing events without having to get a licence and inform residents. It is an emerging problem in Newquay – considered to have the unwanted tag of the South West's party capital. But do MPs know what adult entertainment clubs are like? In the Commons debate, Mr Gilbert said: "I have never been to a lap-dancing club, and my view is that real men do not buy women for entertainment, but, as a Liberal, I accept that if adults want to make such choices, that is up to them." Speaking for Labour, Diana Johnson, MP for Kingston upon Hull North, had a similar record. "Like him, I have never visited the establishments we are discussing," she said, then addressing Jeremy Browne, the Home Office minister speaking on behalf of the Government. "It will be interesting to hear whether the Minister has." The minister and Lib Dem MP for Taunton Deane ducked the question.
Clarke's Doom Bar date
Veteran Conservative MP Ken Clarke was the guest at a "beer and sandwiches" lunch with political journalists in Westminster last week. The beer? Cornwall's own Doom Bar, brewed by Sharp's. He revealed he told Boris Johnson, whose family still live on Exmoor, to "cool it" during last year's Conservative Party conference. It was amid speculation that the London mayor was positioning himself to replace David Cameron reached fever-pitch. Mr Clarke said the "amazing mass media turnout" was a surprise even to Boris. "My advice was to him was I would cool it here, there isn't gong to be a vacancy for some years," he said. The cabinet minister without portfolio also said George Osborne was "bound to be a contender" to succeed Cameron once he stepped down as the chancellor was "playing a blinder" with the economy. Mr Clarke, who has been an MP since 1970 and held almost all the major political offices of state including Chancellor, Health Secretary and Justice Secretary, also revealed he may quit parliament at the next election. The 73-year-old said he was currently at the point of "making up my mind".
Thatcher payback time
MPs were told they could claim up to £3,750 if they wanted to take part in Commons tributes to the late Baroness Thatcher in April. Last week, the expenses watchdog released details if how much they claimed. Most Members from the South West who attended claimed for travel from the region and back. One Cornwall MP even clawed back £1 for "station parking between London and constituency". They can claim again for the recent Syria recall.
DJ Adrian in the house
Torbay MP Adrian Sanders has been spinning records on BBC Devon. He has said his "dream job" would be a "Friday night rock show on Radio 2".
Tweet of the week
Lib Dem peer Lord Ashdown on the ex-Yeovil MP apparently backing another Lib Dem-Con coalition