Diets come in all varieties. We've had the F Plan Diet, the GI diet, the Atkins Diet. Now, we have the Alex Salmond diet.
This last one, named after Scotland's First Minister, is the most curious of all since it appears to involve telling people that you are making a big effort to lose weight ... while claiming [pounds sterling]400 a month from the taxpayer for food simply because you are an MP.
It has emerged, courtesy of the publication of MPs'expenses this week, that the First Minister - who also represents Banff and Buchan at Westminster - pocketed the maximum [pounds sterling]400 a month in MPs' food expenses for each of the first four months of 2007. He spent most of this period in Scotland because it was the run-up to the Holyrood election. His spokesman has candidly admitted that he was not in London for the whole of April 2007, the final month of the campaign.
In the same month, Mr Salmond was also busy telling the media and voters that he had gone on a crash diet because of his alarm that he appeared too chubby on television and because he wanted to be at the peak of fitness for the campaign.
OUT, apparently, had gone his beloved late night curries and bottles of Lucozade. IN had come breakfast porridge and slimline smoothies.
Indeed, so successful had Mr Salmond's diet regime been that he assured us at the time that he had lost "more than a stone". He added: "I'm not about to win Slimmer of the Year and I have a long way to go, but my wife is happy about it."
Mr Salmond's singular approach to dieting was something his political opponents found hard to digest.
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, a Labour MSP, declared that Mr Salmond would never win "weight-watcher of the month" on this kind of diet. "In fact, it looks like Alex Salmond is to di-etinwhat Jeremy Clarkson is to the green movement."
The Scottish Conservatives took a much more serious message from Mr Salmond's dietary habits. A spokesman for the party said: "From dumping student debt to introducing local income tax, the SNP have ditched numerous key pledges that they made in the 2007 election.
"Therefore it should be no surprise that Alex Salmond can't keep his own promises either - it's the story of this SNP government."
Wendy Barry, the director of the Scottish Food Guide who last year created a special diet for Mr Salmond when he was said to have eaten nothing but local Scottish produce for a week, said: "In any family of any description, [pounds sterling]400 does not go very far for food for a month.
"But I should say that the First Minister has always been very supportive of efforts to promote local produce in Scotland."
A spokesman for Mr Salmond said: "The First Minister was indeed on a campaign diet - but it hasn't entirely worked."
Mr Salmond said that he wanted to be at peak fitness for the campaign; Photographer: DEREK IRONSIDE
Source Citation:"Alex Salmond claimed [pounds sterling]400 a month on food, while dieting.(News)." The Times (London, England) (June 20, 2009): 21. Academic OneFile. Gale. BROWARD COUNTY LIBRARY. 1 Aug. 2009
Gale Document Number:CJ202103864
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