21/05/2012 06:35 BST | Updated 21/05/2012 07:57 BST

Political Week Ahead: Adam Smith Before Leveson, Kay Burley Before Literary Talent

Would you believe it - MPs have yet another recess starting this week. Last week half of them stayed in their constituencies because they were all on a one-line whip for the Queen's Speech, so many of them didn't bother to turn up at Westminster at all.

This week they'll have to spend a bit of time hanging about the place to vote on the thrillingly exciting Local Government Finance Bill, but on Thursday they're off again, this time for two weeks.

Anyway most of the political action takes place away from Westminster this week - with the real fireworks expected on Thursday when News International lobbyist Fred Michel and Former Jeremy Hunt adviser Adam Smith appear before the Leveson inquiry.

Top of the list of questions to Michel; are you prone to exaggeration, particularly on email? For Smith; Were you named after the 18th Century philosopher and if so, do you think he's turning in his grave? Will you display the absent-mindedness your namesake was famous for - just as most current and former senior employees of News International seem to have done?

Elsewhere in the unfolding zombie apocalypse we now call Euroland there is what's being billed as an 'informal' meeting of the European Council, which almost every major leader must be dreading. Not because it'll be another chance for everyone to tell Angela Merkel to stop being so cruel to the impoverished Greeks, only for her to tell them where to shove it.

No, the real anxiety is that photographers keep taking snaps of world leaders in these 'informal' settings, exposing bad dress sense or in Merkel's case a very strange notion of what passes for informal attire. At least there are no major sporting tournaments on the telly on Wednesday night.


Not a good look - Cameron's Sweat Patches And Merkel's Informal 'Chillax' Look - Perhaps

On Tuesday the Electoral Commission publishes the regular list of party donations, have Tory financiers melted into the shadows for fear they'll be associated with Peter Cruddas et al? Has anyone who's not a member of a trade union actually donated to Labour, now they look like they might form a government someday? We're on the edge of our seats.

And a minor footnote in political history - the second volume in Kay Burley's bodice-ripping political romp-novel series is published on Thursday. The first one led to - ahem - somewhat mixed reviews, but if it's a toss-up between reading that and the Public Accounts Committee's report on the state of the MoD workforce, it's a no-brainer... surely?