The Sketch: Rushing from the ridiculous to the sublimely ridiculous

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The Independent Online

The Solicitor General is reverting to her previous form after being semi-civilised by the Speaker; he did what he could. Now she sighs at questions again, and scowls, scoffs, tuts, patronises, jeers, sneers and informs people of their epic ignorance. Considering she has to defend the indefensible, and looks like she was drawn by a Beano artist, you have to admire her poise.

A DNA disc was sent from Holland. It disappeared. Then it reappeared sitting on someone's desk after a year. Vera Baird had assured us no data had been lost. "But how does she know?" Sandra Gidley asked, if the CPS didn't know they had the disc in the first place?

Vera drew herself up to her full height (12ft) and told her that it had been "an excellent example of international co-operation" and a result of "excellent international relationships with our European partners". They're very forgiving, the Dutch.

Tom Brake stung her with a suggestion that the Government doesn't look after our personal details very carefully. "On your knees, slave, and lick my shiny red boots!," she said. It's true she phrased it differently, but that's the impression she made.

Now it's got me worried. I fear the Government's second most senior law officer has opened up a manhole in my psyche I'd rather was left shut.

To return to the chamber. On the one hand, they put 25 million records into the mail, unregistered, without even a tracking number. On the other, when they send a DNA disc to the Dutch, Vera said, it was taken there personally by an escorted chief police officer who had the disc "handcuffed to him". They go from the ridiculous to the sublimely ridiculous.

But, no matter how quickly they do, John Spellar is ahead of them. He congratulated himself on his "longstanding campaign" to increase the use of tap water. He held the cur Nick Harvey to account. What was the House of Commons Commission's policy on the provision of drinking water at meetings, he asked

Mr Harvey confessed the current practice of bottled mineral water was going to continue but "the department of facilities is re-examining the issue". And what were the terms of reference for a re-examination? They had "the intention of providing further advice".

Spellar was pleased but not satisfied. He urged urgency and that tap water should be supplied alongside bottled mineral water as an alternative.

Another day, another step towards the darkness.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

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