Letters: In Brief

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Sir: The former Foreign Office minister David Davis MP is quoted as defining a diplomat ("The Sketch", 17 June) as "An honest man paid to go abroad to lie for his country". I suspect that he was drawing heavily on Sir Henry Wotton (1568-1639), an ambassador for James I, who wrote in a friend's album "An Ambassador is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country".

Some claim Wotton meant this as a double entendre, having in mind that touching the leg of a prospective royal bride, thereby symbolically consummating the marriage or, perhaps less symbolically, otherwise lying with ladies on official business, were sometimes ambassadorial duties.

I can assure you from personal experience that in our own less colourful times both meanings have long since ceased to be part of a diplomat's job description.

MERRICK BAKER-BATES

Creaton, Northamptonshire

Sir: How ironic to describe Ann Widdecombe as an "enemy of all things alternative" ("You ask the Questions", 17 June). Is there any stance in today's moral maze that is more "alternative" than the stance of one who is unashamedly Christian?

JIM MALIA

Totland, Isle of Wight

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