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.



Who will come out fighting for Europe?

Politicians and industrialists alike have been cowardly and inept at promoting the pro-EU case

Negative, nasty and very effective

Expect more of the type of political broadcast that caused this week's uproar, says Dennis Kavanagh

Wrong battle, wrong time, wrong country

If the broadcasters lose this case, they will have lost the right to decide what is impartial, says Stephen Ward

Tories turn the screw on BBC

The Prime Minister yesterday appeared to throw his weight behind the weekend's attack on the BBC by Jonathan Aitken, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, as it became clear that the onslaught was the first strike in a co-ordinated assault on the corporation.

Start the lift, I want to get out

"It was kind of like free-fall television," said Jools Holland, recalling the glory days of The Tube (in The Legend of the Tube, Channel 4). "It wasn't contrived, was it," he added, turning to Paula Yates for confirmation. "It was genuinely shodd y." It was too, but memory is forgiving and The Tube now stands as one of television's Dunkirks, a disaster proudly remembered because of its evidence of pluck in the face of adversity. They filmed some fine bands too, which is important now that televis ion networks are beginning to exploit the value of their backlists.

Dear Jeremy Hanley

As if dissent in the ranks was not enough, a Tory peer has called the p arty chairman a `pantaloon'. A political commentator has some advice to offer

Letter: Unfair charge of blackmail

Sir: I welcome the Prime Minister's decision to set up a standing committee to investigate standards in public life, but am disappointed and surprised by the manner in which I was treated by the Prime Minister in yesterday's statement in the House of Commons.

Howe attacks EU doubters

THE Conservatives risk losing the next election by sliding into 'Euroscepticaemia', Lord Howe, the former Foreign Secretary, warned yesterday.

Major pokes a stick in a hornets' nest

THE Conservative Party is consulting its members. Our gobs are well smacked, our flabbers quite comprehensively ghasted. We knew things were bad. But this? All one can hope for now is that the party hierarchy is deeply insincere, that this is 'consultation' as in, 'I am consulting my lawyers', a form of verbal stress- relief from which nothing serious follows.

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold: My old friend Jeffrey, what a tale he can tell

I DO NOT believe that my dear old friend and quacking partner Jeffrey Archer has been breaching the City's dear old etiquette. Far from it. The idea is preposterous. Who ever heard of a very rich man bothering to become richer? I have no doubt that, when this nasty little business is cleared up, he will emerge without the smallest stain about his person.

White Paper on the BBC: Bruised survivor of Thatcherism triumphs: Corporation back in favour after political battle. Maggie Brown reports

THE REAL turning point in the BBC's political fortunes came in January 1991, at the height of the Gulf war. John Major, newly installed as Prime Minister, praised the BBC for its reporting before Parliament.

True Gripes: Home, sweet home: Bring back the grotty bedsit

If Tony Blair wanted a winning ticket for London, it would be to offer a simple solution to the nation's ills: the recreation of the grotty bedsit.

Long Runners: No 34: Spitting image

Age: 10. It is now in its fifteenth series.
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