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UK Politics

Village People: Jo creates confusion


Jo Johnson, brother of Boris, is Charles Darwin's MP, because it was in Down House, in Johnson's Orpington constituency, that Darwin wrote On the Origin of the Species.

Yet Johnson is not one of the 104 MPs from all parties who backed a Commons motion tabled by the Liberal Democrat, Julian Huppert, regretting that evolution has been taken off the primary school curriculum, and that some schools are including the "pseudo-science" of creationism in science lessons.

George Keleny, a science student who lives in the Orpington area, wrote to Mr Johnson on this subject and received a reply, dated 11 August and signed by the MP. Out of the page leapt this alarming claim: "Evolution has no place in the teaching of science."

From the rest of the letter it is plain he meant "creationism" not "evolution" – but it might not be a bad idea, Mr Johnson, if you read your letters before you sign them.

Walking in harmony

The ever voluble Sally Bercow has confirmed her appearance on Celebrity Big Brother caused disharmony in the home of the Speaker, John Bercow. "This is more serious than other ding-dongs we've had, but it won't wreck our marriage," she said on The Wright Stuff, holding up crossed fingers as she spoke. The next morning, Mr and Mrs Bercow were very visible doing a walkabout in Parliament, chatting to visitors, having coffee with Ed Miliband and looking like a couple who had settled their differences.

Given that Mrs Bercow's right to be in Parliament at all depends – like her "celebrity" status – on the survival of her marriage, you could call it her "I'm a Celebrity, don't throw me out of here" tour.

Figuring out Dorries

"I don't have the figures in front of me but I can guarantee you that 15 years ago the incidence of abortion was far, far fewer than it is today. Today we have 200,000 abortions carried out per year... 15 years ago the figure may have been around 40,000," said Nadine Dorries on BBC Radio 4's World at One programme.

The number of abortions carried out in England and Wales in 2010 was actually not 200,000 but 189,100. The 1996 figure was not 40,000 but 167,916. Not having the figures in front of you is hardly an excuse for broadcasting wild guesses.