Speeches in the House of Commons by the Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg are an erudite comedy turn. As MPs debated the European Union (Approvals) Bill (Lords), which writes into British law two draft regulations passed by the Council of the European Union, only he thought it necessary to read into the official record part of what one of the regulations actually said.

Butthead meets Voltaire

TIME TRAVEL by Jon Savage Chatto pounds 12.99

misquotations beam me up on yer bike, Yorick

Was it not Captain James T Spock of the Starship Jefferson Airplane who first said: "Make my day, Yorick"? No, it was not. But it was William Shakespeare who, in 1596, in the First Part of Henry IV wrote: "Looke how we can, or sad or merrily, Interpretation will misquote our lookes."

The high-flyer with an ear to the ground

In the search for the Big Idea, BA's new chief has chosen a simple one - communication

Defector says Tories are racist

n Tebbit accused over black and Asian party members n Rebel MP reveals Labour tried to woo her

The heart of Britain is slipping South

ATTEMPTS to keep Britain detached from Europe are doomed to failure: the centre of the country is drifting steadily south-eastwards and will reach the Sussex coast in the second half of the next millennium. And the Conservatives have only themselves to blame.

Young and old not given quite enough rope

The party with an average age of 62 (and that is just the Young Conservatives) decided yesterday morning to prove, despite all appearances to the contrary, that it had young blood coursing through its veins. It did this by inviting a 39-year-old retired athlete and a 34-year-old slaphead to launch its focus on youth. No wonder Seb Coe and William Hague looked embarrassed: just about to face up to mid-life crisis, here were the pair of them expected to act as MCs at the Tory rave.

Thatcher: the final challenge

It's Margaret Thatcher's birthday today. The best birthday present anyone could give her would be the leadership of the Tory party. She always wanted to be still leading the Tory party at the age of 70. In fact, she had already written the speech she would deliver to celebrate the occasion. Here it is, copied from her actual notes, as they are to be found on show in the Margaret Thatcher Foundation Travelling Exhibition:

ANOTHER VIEW: Streets free of fear


It has eight ministers, 11,000 civil servants and a pounds 59m office - but what is it for?

Stephen Castle on a candidate for white elephant of Whitehall

OBITUARY: Sir Peter Morrison

Peter Morrison was generous and loyal and was prepared to go to inordinate lengths to help his colleagues, writes Sir Archibald Hamilton [further to the obituary by Patrick Cosgrave, 15 July]. All his political career his organisational skills combined with an infectious enthusiasm for whatever he was doing made him an accomplished motivator of those who worked for him.

A congenial Cabinet - and Hezza

John Major has punished the right of his party and taken a risk in rewarding the radical to his left

He who dares wins - and he did

John Major's gamble was preceded by years of psychological trauma within the Conservative Party, writes Donald Macintyre

Euro-loons, stalking horses and the men with the dagger

A Tory minister reports on the skulduggery and intrigue of a frenzied week in Westminster

A lot of dirty water and rather a small baby

ENEMY WITHIN: The Rise and Fall of the British Communist Party by Francis Beckett, John Murray pounds 19.99

Middle England comes out

Colonel Blimp is on the defensive but the rest of Britain doesn't mind gays in the forces, writes Edmund Hall
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