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Irate hotelier puts Paxman in his place

JEREMY PAXMAN, arch cynic and Newsnight presenter, has finally received a dose of his own medicine - from a hotel manager whose establishment had fallen foul of his vitriolic criticism.

The spat followed a visit by Mr Paxman, once blackballed from the Garrick Club for his surly temper, and his mother to the 15th century Hintlesham Hall hotel near Ipswich, Suffolk.

Having cancelled the booking twice, once only three hours before they were due to arrive, Mr Paxman was charged half the bill for cancelling so late.

His response came in a review of his stay published last Saturday in which he described a telephone conversation over the charge with a receptionist who had "one of those How-may-I-help-you-but-don't-bloody-well-bother- me-voices".

Calling her "Miss Now Sod Off", he told how he insisted on talking to the assistant manager who agreed to waive the pounds 120 charge. He was unimpressed by the room given to his mother and criticised the food and decor, though he said the Grade III listed hotel was "comfortable and well appointed".

But the hotel proprietor, David Allan, was not going to take it lying down. He in turn wrote to The Times describing the review as "demonstrably nasty", "unjustifiably vitriolic" and "largely baseless and unpleasant". What is more, he said, Mr Paxman was not welcome back at the hotel, which is a favourite haunt of celebrities. "He should indeed, to coin part of his own phrase, sod off," wrote the hotelier.