Labour MP Jim Sheridan covered himself in glory this morning by asking why the ‘parasitical press’ is ‘even allowed to come into’ parliament. Westminster watchers will remember the eloquent and thoughtful Mr Sheridan’s contribution to the expenses crisis when he described the soon to be disgraced Speaker, Michael Martin, as a man of the ‘highest integrity’. Now, a reader has regaled me with a tale that makes you wonder how Mr Sheridan reached the giddy heights of the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee:

‘At a day at the races some years ago my girlfriend was making small talk with him and he must have been the Labour Convenor for Scottish MPs at the time, so she just said ‘must be like herding cats’. Having clearly never heard of this phrase he thought she was obviously a fool, and loudly proclaimed to the rest our table: here ‘this girl thinks you heard cats!’ There was a generally embarrassed silence from assembled MPs and horsey types. Literally the least impressive MP I have ever met.’

We can but hope that Mr Sheridan refrains from further interventions. Perhaps he might spend some more time with his ‘memory foam mattress’ and ‘ivory leather bed’, for which you all contributed as part of MPs’ expenses. That pesky ‘parasitical press’, eh?

Tags: Freedom of speech, Jim Sheridan, Leveson inquiry, MPs' expenses, Press regulation