LETTER:Salaries, MPs and the interests of the Commons man

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From Mr David Hill

Sir: How on earth can you justify describing John Major's humiliating defeat over Nolan as "canny" ("Game, set and match to Nolan", 7 November)? Your suggestion that he was playing a game of double bluff so that the issue went away does not bear a moment's scrutiny. For the Prime Minister and the whole of his government to be defeated by 51 votes is a disaster in anyone's book.

As a result, he has been made to look weak and out of touch and drawn upon himself the wrath of many of his backbenchers, some of whom are threatening not to comply with the new rules.

And the benefit that can be derived from Parliament having taken the right decision now is certainly not the product of some "cunning plan" by our accident- prone Prime minister.

Of course, it is just possible that you were indulging in some deeply hidden irony. If so, it is so deeply hidden that I searched for it in vain. If not, then the idea that you should give John Major one jot of credit for the debacle of Monday night is stunningly perverse.

Yours sincerely,

David Hill

Head of Press

Labour Party

London, SE17