William Hague endured heavy criticism when the Foreign Office was slow to lay on aircraft to take British citizens out of Libya, so he must be keen that the costs of other airlifts out of crisis zones are not subjected to too much scrutiny.
According to information extracted by the Tory MP Andrew Rosindell, the FCO paid £175,164 to pull Britons out of Bahrain, despite the Government's great reluctance to admit that the country might be in the throes of revolution. However, only 16 Britons and two other EU citizens took up the offer, which means that they cost the British taxpayer a minimum £9,765 per head. Yet even that is cheaper than the evacuation programme for Britons caught up in the Japanese earthquake. The FCO generously paid out £781,500 for 981 seats on four aircraft, but only 79 people came aboard, which works out at £9,892 per head.
A new slimline dry Fox
Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary who has had some bruising arguments with David Cameron over defence spending, has given up alcohol. That should put paid to some unpleasant and ill-founded rumours about his sociability that opponents have been spreading around the Westminster Village. It is also helping his waist line.
Cameron, Balls and the truth about the leaflet
Before David Cameron called Ed Balls "the most annoying person in modern politics", he delivered a put-down of another Labour MP, Chris Williamson, from Derby North, who complained of being wrongly accused of telling untruths about Tory policies. The PM retorted: "I can't believe that I accused him of anything because I had absolutely no idea who he was."
But on 23 March last year, journalists at Mr Cameron's press conference were handed copies of a leaflet being distributed in Derby by Mr Williamson, containing what Mr Cameron said were lies. "Show the leaflets to government ministers and see what they say about them," he exhorted. On that day at least he must have had an idea of who Mr Williamson was.