Tory dame puts noses out of joint

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The Independent Online
Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman, one of the grandes dames of the Conservative Party, has become the latest in a long line of MPs to be accused of having their noses in a trough. But in her case, the trough is real.

Dame Elaine has upset residents in the picturesque village of Slyne, near Lancaster, by carrying off two stone troughs and two limestone balls when she moved house recently. Although the items, dating back to 1650, were on her land, villagers and members of the local historical society say they were there before she arrived and should be returned as part of the village's heritage.

Allan Rushton, a local historian, said: "She's not even our MP. Those troughs are more than 300 years old and are part of our history. I am surprised that she didn't take the stocks as well."

Dame Elaine has written to say she took the items, valued at pounds 8,000, as a reminder of a happy home. But Lancaster council is checking to see if planning permission should have been obtained.