Wilkes's Diary: Marathon MP's

Wilkes has noticed wan-looking MPs with dazed looks in their eyes. This is caused, I am reliably informed, by training for the London marathon. Each year around this time, these spidery dummies get down to their final training routine, running aro und the streets of London, breathing in exhaust fumes, and generally damaging their health.

Six MPs have signed up for the so-called "fun run" in April; they include John Austin-Walker, who has the advantage of being the MP for Woolwich, near the start of the marathon in Greenwich, enabling him to have an extra hour in bed when the gun goes off- and Alistair Burt, the social security minister. Young Burt is responsible for the Child Support Agency, and it is quite understandable that he should keep fit enough to outrun all those angry fathers. But disturbing details have come to me about his training programme. He leaves his office late at night in his running kit, and heads off home to Walthamstow on foot. Half an hour later, his ministerial car leaves his office with his clothes, and picks him up on the way home. Is this a proper way for aminister to behave?