ANDREW PIERCE: SNP's Ian Blackford is rolling in the London dough

ANDREW PIERCE: SNP’s Ian Blackford is rolling in the London dough

Like a broken record, Westminster’s SNP leader Ian Blackford launched into one of his tiresome anti-Brexit rants at Prime Minister’s Questions last week.

Blackford lambasted Boris Johnson for inflicting ‘economic vandalism’ on Scotland and demanding a ‘detailed economic assessment of the cost to the UK of his extreme Tory Brexit plans’.

With Blackford frothing at the mouth, you’d be forgiven for thinking the SNP bruiser — a man who’s not short of a bob or two as a former managing director of Deutsche Bank and having pocketed £1.8 million from the sale of internet provider Commsworld, of which he was non-executive chairman, this year — passionately supports Scottish businesses and only Scottish businesses.

Like a broken record, Westminster’s SNP leader Ian Blackford launched into one of his tiresome anti-Brexit rants at Prime Minister’s Questions last week

But it seems his loyalties are divided. Blackford appears more than happy to fatten his wallet south of the border — to the tune of around £3,250 a month. 

That’s what he earns from the Golden Charter Trust — where he has been a shareholder and even briefly controlled 75 per cent — which offers prepaid funeral plans. Yet the Trust is registered not in Scotland, but St James’s, London.

And what does the company —Blackford also chairs the Trustee Board — think of Brexit? 

‘The Trustees do not consider that the issue of Brexit will have any significant impact on the Trust.’

Perhaps those ‘Tory Brexit plans’ aren’t so awful, after all…

Comedian David Baddiel hails the unlikely win of Bill Bailey on Strictly: ‘In all seriousness, a little victory over ageism. On Strictly, often, the over-50 contestant is just there to be laughed [at]: Ann Widdecombe etc. Paradoxically, it took a brilliant comedian to prove that you can be 55 and a serious dancer.’

Is Baddiel, at 56, vying for a place on next year’s show?

Jess is all a-Quaver 

Labour MP Jess Phillips tweets a clarification: ‘Watching Snackmasters on Channel 4 about Quavers, I’m reminded of the time my son and his mates changed my Wikipedia page to say that I ate Quavers in the bath. I don’t.’ Not that anyone was asking, Jess. 

With Brexit talks ongoing, you’d have thought it would be all ministerial hands to the pump. But an edict went out from Lord Agnew, an unpaid Minister at the Treasury and Cabinet Office — two departments in the thick of Brexit planning — that he must not be disturbed at weekends. 

A note to MPs said: ‘Lord Agnew does not accept a Friday box. The weekend box closes at 12pm on Thursdays. Any submissions after this time will be shared with Lord Agnew the following week.’ All right for some.  

Quote of the weekend: ‘BBC just said this was ‘sobering news’. Not if I can help it,’ said Simon Blackwell, co-writer of political satire The Thick Of It, after the announcement that Boris had cancelled Christmas. 

Writer, broadcaster, actor and a former Tory MP, the multi-talented Gyles Brandreth has added a new string to his bow: online shopkeeper.

Ever modest, Brandreth’s Old Curiosity Shop is selling autographed copies of his own books and personalised mugs. According to Brandreth, one mug features ‘a picture of me and the great Roger Moore on one side and, on the other, an ad that I spotted at the local chemist: ‘Try Viagra. It won’t make you Sean Connery, but it might make you Roger Moore’.’

Gossip gauntlet

Former Tory MP Jerry Hayes loves a good gossip, but he didn’t enjoy the indiscreet diaries of Sasha Swire, wife of ex-MP Sir Hugo Swire.

‘It’s a terminally depressing cry for help from a couple who come over as smugly entitled toffs desperate for money, recognition and power,’ he writes in Order! Order!, journal of the Association of Former MPs. 

‘If Sir Hugo deigns to read this, I wouldn’t be surprised if he challenged me to a duel. Fine by me, as with his track record he would undoubtedly miss.’ Ouch!

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