Captain Moonlight: Keep out]

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The Independent Online
A TELEPHONE call of high emotion comes through to the Captain from his close friend of many years, the highly respected lobby correspondent, Miss Una Tributable. Una is very upset about this ruling forbidding the presence of lobby correspondents on the Terrace of the House of Commons unless accompanied by a member. I undertake to raise the matter with Mr Anthony Steen, the genial Conservative MP for South Hams who sits on the Catering Committee, jointly responsible for the stern edict. Mr Steen is firm. The place had been getting so crowded it had been like Hong Kong. The trouble was that on summer evenings, in the dark, lone lobby correspondents had lurked. Well, yes, he says, the move had been 'stimulated' by the recent rash of revelations about the private peccadillos of some of his colleagues. But it is also part of a wider move to reclaim Westminster for MPs, he says. Did I know, for example, that there are 64 bedrooms in the House of Commons, that only a third of them were ever used, and those only by officials? Scandalous, he said. He wanted to get MPs into them. I only hope this is wise.