What a lot of dirty linen from one night in a hotel

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The Independent Online
On Friday I brought you an extract from a current court case in which an unnamed cabinet minister is suing the Albarama Hotel, Birmingham, on the grounds of sexual discrimination. To my great disappointment, it was not picked up as an example of the great Tory sleaze factor, so I have no choice but to continue with more extracts . . .

Counsel: If I may summarise the position so far, minister, we have established that you are what is called today 'gay'?

Minister: That is so.

Counsel: But this is not known to your cabinet colleagues?

Minister: No. They think I am having an affair with my female researcher.

Counsel: And are you?

Minister: Certainly not; what a disgusting idea] Counsel: Disgusting? Because it would involve physical contact with, if you'll pardon the expression, a woman, or because it would be ethically disgusting to have an affair with a subordinate?

Minister: Because my wife might find out.

Counsel: Ah, you are married?

Minister: Yes.

Counsel: Does your wife know that you are . . .?

Minister: Are what?

Counsel: A poofter?

Minister: I don't know. My wife and I have never let sex sully our relationship.

Counsel: So what have you allowed to sully your relationship?

Minister: You may mock. But ours is an ideal partnership. We have done everything to maintain the marriage. We sleep in separate beds, we go on holidays separately, we have separate jobs and we have two cars. My wife has custody of the children and I have custody of the drinks cupboard. There is absolutely no possible conflict of interest.

Counsel: How interesting. Would you recognise your wife if you bumped into her walking along the street, do you think?

Judge: I can't help thinking we are straying from the point. I want to hear about these dirty films.

Counsel: Yes, m'lud . . . Now, let us go back to the night of 19 July last year, 11.30pm. When you were preparing for bed in the Albarama Hotel, Room 510, did you switch on the bedroom TV in order to watch the film being shown on what is sometimes called the dirty businessman's channel?

Minister: I did.

Counsel: What did you see?

Minister: I saw a woman being undressed by a man who seemed to be wearing the uniform of an airline pilot, though not for long.

Counsel: No, I don't mean in detail. I mean, can you tell us what the name of the film was?

Minister: I think it was Red Hot Devils, Randy and Ready To Go.

Judge: I don't think I've seen that one. My favourite is Wigs Away] It's all about this judge who asks this female witness back to his hotel to go over some evidence with her . . .

Counsel: Perhaps some other time, m'lud.

Judge: Any time.

Counsel: Can you tell us what your reaction to this film was?

Minister: Yes. I was disgusted.

Counsel: In case your wife found out?

Minister: No. I was disgusted by the blatantly heterosexual agenda of the film. There was nothing in it at all to appeal to a red-blooded homosexual like me.

Counsel: So you have decided to bring this action against the hotel to oblige it to provide films for dirty-minded and tired businessmen of all sexual persuasions?

Minister: Yes.

Counsel: While we are at it, would you like them to be forced to include actors from ethnic minorities as well? And disabled actors? Would you like there to be a quota of unemployed actors used in all dirty films?

Minister: There is no need to adopt that tone of voice.

Counsel: Minister, I put it to you that in bringing this action you are wasting this court's time. You have no intention of trying to change hotel legislation. You have something else in mind, have you not?

Minister: I don't know what you're talking about.

Judge: I haven't the faintest idea what either of you is talking about.

Counsel: I think the minister knows very well. I think the cabinet is so anxious to get away from sleaze and money scandals that it is resorting to the desperate remedy of engineering a sex scandal instead. And that you have been persuaded to bring this case to distract attention from all the financial tawdriness in which the Government is already mired.

Minister: That's preposterous.

Judge: Never mind if it is preposterous or not. Is it true?

Minister: Yes, it is, actually.

Judge: Good heavens] Well, what do we do now?

Counsel: We could adjourn and watch the film in question, m'lud.

Judge: What an excellent idea] Court adjourned.

The case continues.