The feral beast: MP ruck puts Standard in dock

Sunday 07 March 2010 01:00

A tussle reaches court this week between the Evening Standard and Tory MP Jacqui Lait.

An article about Lait and another MP, Eleanor Laing, muddled the two up, and reported Lait as having had to repay £25,000 in Capital Gains Tax – a figure associated with Laing. The error was expunged from later editions and an apology swiftly printed, but Lait still isn't happy. Carter-Ruck is seeking tens of thousands in damages for her, which would go some way to covering the £7,000 expenses their client did in fact repay the parliamentary fees office.

Marr calls a taxi for Sunday papers

Mark Thompson makes all the right cost-cutting noises, but there's still cash sloshing round The Andrew Marr Show. I'm told producers desperate to lure big names to review Sunday papers have taken to dispatching the papers by taxi to their homes, rather than make the bigwigs schlep into the studio early to read them. How grand.

Grauniad stands corrected

The Guardian rightly dedicated much of Thursday's edition to the late Michael Foot, with tributes from Denis Healey, Michael White and many leading writers. No word, though, from Polly Toynbee. Could this be because, only days before he died, she referred to the former Labour leader as Paul Foot – his nephew? A correction said "an incorrect forename was inserted in the editing", but a further correction was needed to explain why the first correction described Foot and Neil Kinnock as former prime ministers, an office they never attained.

Parkinson puzzle at the Mail

Michael Parkinson's £25,000 libel action against the Mail has left Kremlinologists scratching their heads, as Parky has traditionally had a rosy relationship with the paper, which serialised his book in 2008. I'm told he is especially pally with senior executive Robin Esser, who would normally be able to resolve any unhappiness; there is talk that the article in question might have been pushed in by an over-eager executive while Esser was away.

The daddy of all last lines

Lionel Jeffries, 83 when he died, gave obituary editors plenty of time to get their copy in order. So fans of the veteran actor and director were appalled to see The Scotsman quote the last line of The Railway Children as "Daddy, Daddy. You're back", when as any fule kno it was "Daddy! My Daddy!" – one of the great chokers of film history.

Angus Stickler

I reported last week the disappointment among friends of Angus Stickler at news he was leaving the BBC, and inadvertently gave the impression he had been dismissed. In fact he is leaving of his own accord, and remains for now a reporter on the Today programme. Stickler is off to join the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. We wish him all the best.

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