MP's tennis team is in Europe and ruled by it

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Just when British tennis thought it was safe to go back on the barley water, MPs provided further humiliation yesterday in an international tournament for parliamentarians at Wimbledon.

Just when British tennis thought it was safe to go back on the barley water, MPs provided further humiliation yesterday in an international tournament for parliamentarians at Wimbledon.

Over a week after the nation's professionals suffered the ignominy of losing to Ecuador in the Davis Cup, the House of Commons tennis team failed to withstand the sporting might of Slovenia and the Netherlands.

Sir Michael Spicer, Tory MP for Worcestershire West, and Michael Meacher, the Environment minister, battled bravely for Great Britain's "A" team, only to see Slovenia win 2-1 and Holland 3-0.

Labour MPs may be famed for putting topspin on a political story, but when it came to the real thing, their foreign opponents proved too powerful.

Sir Michael, who is captain of the team and a noted Eurosceptic, must also have been pained to see the Europeans coming out on top.

The one-day event, held on the Centre Court at the All England Club, featured politicians from some 14 countries, including Switzerland, Poland, Croatia and Finland.

Great Britain also looked likely to lose its third and final match in its group yesterday, this time against the mighty Germany. However, the MPs at least had a decent excuse for their performance: the German team included a "ringer" in the shape of Boris Becker's personal coach, Günter Bosch.

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