AS if the general election wasn’t bad enough, the Tories are now replacing the SNP in the music business. The latest Westminster register of interests reveals Banff & Buchan MP David Duguid was paid £2400 “as a temporary member of the parliamentary rock band” MP4 on Dave TV. He was standing in for Nat Pete Wishart, who was said to be “unable to perform”. Not unlike the North East SNP.

THE register also revealed what Tory Ross Thomson was doing in Iraq. The Just William of Aberdeen South made headlines after sharing snaps of himself goofing around on Saddam Hussein’s old parade ground and sitting in his throne. Turns out he was a guest of the Iraq government who flew him out to meet “Ministers, Parliamentarians, senior representatives of faiths, senior representatives of Yezidis and human rights defenders”. Let’s hope they feel they got their £3250 worth.

A RARE outbreak of consensus after Thursday’s NHS debate - that James Dornan’s was one of the worst Holyrood speeches in an age. The Cathcart Nat ad-libbed much of it, had to read from an iPad about an apparently key event in Wales, muttering “I can’t even remember what it’s called”, told other MSPs to “sit down” and called rivals’ speeches “absolutely pathetic”. He capped it all by declaring the difference between him and one of his opponents was “I’m not always trying to personalise the issue.” Historic stuff.

HER party might have slagged them off this week, but Ruth Davidson is still in line to receive an SNP baby box this autumn. Unspun hears the Tory leader’s big news was kept a secret thanks to a codeword. For reasons best known to Ruth and her partner Jen, the pregnancy was referred to at Tory HQ cryptically as “Project Fionnuala”. So successful was the ploy, the nascent bump is also now named after the ‘beautiful face’ of Irish mythology.

NEWS just in from the Cretaceous-Tertiary, home of living dinosaur Alan Cochrane. The Telegraph’s inimitable North Britain correspondent was perplexed when his Holyrood security pass lapsed this week. Our mole reports he created a huge line outside Queensberry House by repeatedly trying to make the dead bit of plastic let him in. Being Cochers, his response was doubtless “I blame the government”.

TALKING of dinosaurs, Edinburgh MSP Ben MacPherson has had to edit his Wikipedia page after a bizarre addition. “Macpherson is regularly seen at public events wearing a t-shirt that says Jurassic Park Is Real in comic sans font; Macpherson has to date refused to comment on the t-shirt,” the mystery joker wrote. Curiously, the page still advertises Mr MacPherson as a former pupil of George Heriot’s. There’s even a link to a report in its Quadrangle magazine about his maiden speech, in which he declared his fervent belief in, er, “social justice”.

RAISED eyebrows in the SNP deputy contest over an endorsement touted by candidate Julie Hepburn. She recently tweeted her “huge thanks” to some councillors backing her bid. Prominent in the accompanying snap was Caroline Stephen, best known for having a £4000 council tax bill paid off by her fellow SNP councillors in North Lanarkshire. A service conspicuously unavailable to her constituents. Top pick!

TORY Brian Whittle was all modesty when he told MSPs a stretch of the M77 had been resurfaced - “lo and behold!” - the very day after he raised it with the government. “Far be it from me to suggest that it was the meeting that instigated the action,” he purred to Transport Minister Humza Yousaf. “Far be it from me to suggest that the power of Brian Whittle is limited only by the ego of Brian Whittle,” Mr Yousaf replied. “I say that only in jest,” he jested.