Iain Dale is Presenter of LBC Drive, Managing Director of Biteback Publishing, a columnist and broadcaster and a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate.

OK, I admit it, I’m not exactly in the mood to write this column today. Why? Because I’m sitting by the swimming pool on the side of a Spanish mountain, overlooking a lake, struggling to see the screen because of the sun. The water beckons, but I’m determined not to succumb to it until I’ve finished writing my pearls of wisdom. The sacrifices I make on your behalf…

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It was announced on Wednesday that David Davis has at last replaced James Chapman as his Chief of Staff and appointed his former PPS, Stewart Jackson.

Stewart had been MP for Peterborough but lost his seat on June 8th, having been the MP there for 12 years. He had set himself up as a Brexit consultant, but will relish being back at the centre of the action. He will provide an important bridge to the parliamentary party, alongside his replacement as PPS, Gareth Johnson.

As many of you know, I was David’s Chief of Staff for six months in 2005. I hope Stewart is more of a success in the role than I was. My one bit of advice to him is this: looking back, my main failure in that role during the first few weeks was to defer to MPs too much, and not assert myself enough.

Stewart’s position is very different to mine, but in some respects similar. I was the link man between his parliamentary operation and his leadership campaign. One of Stewart’s main challenges will be to be the link man between David and his civil service operation.

He has a head start having been David’s PPS, but nevertheless it will not be an easy job, requiring a mixture of charm and hard-nosed determination. He is in effect in charge of making sure that DexEU civil servants deliver what David wants. I wish him the very best of luck in the job. I do hope he keeps a diary…

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I have never knowingly eaten chlorinated chicken. But given the number of times that I’ve been to the United States, it’s very likely I have. It says something about the level of public debate on a possible UK/US trade deal that this has been reduced as to whether we should allow such chickens into this country or not.

Liam Fox doesn’t have an issue with doing so. Michael Gove, (un)helpfully does. Quite why he felt it necessary to open up yet another cabinet rift is anyone’s guess. He could have easily finessed it in a Today interview this week, but chose not to.

Of course, the whole business is a non-issue. No one would be forced to buy or eat the wretched stuff. It would have to be properly labelled. I doubt very much that there would be any demand for it. In the end, the market would work.

But whatever the demerits of chlorinated chicken are, I doubt it is any less healthy than the very cheap chicken that we now import from south-east Asia in vast quantities, and seem to have no problem with as long as we can buy it for 99p down at Chicken Tonite. You get what you pay for.

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Spain has a rather different attitude to public services. Fiddle your electricity, and they cut you off. Not only that, but they never reconnect you, and leave you to your own devices. And with water being a scarce resource, they have no hesitation at all in cutting off supplies to anyone who fiddles their water meter.

They did this to one of my friend’s neighbours, who tried to hide how much water he was using. He’s been without a water supply now for three years, and now has to pay for it to be delivered by a lorry. If our utility companies ever even threatened such action, they would no doubt be sued in the courts for a breach of their human rights.

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Readers of my old blog will recall that there’s nothing I like more than a good list. For the last ten years, I have been compiling the Top 100 People on the Right and Top 100 People on the Left lists, together with the Top 50 Liberal Democrats.

It takes a huge amount of work and time to put together panels to compile these lists, and then write them up and pen 250 individual biographies. This year will be doubly challenging, given the level of inevitable churn that there will be in all three lists. Anyway, I am looking for a new sponsor. If you’re interested, do let me know.

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So now the pool beckons. Adios until next week, when I will be writing from the rather different surroundings of the Norfolk countryside.