The Sketch: Plaid Cymru's fearsome threesome pack quite a punch

Simon Carr
Wednesday 10 February 2010 01:00
Comments

What a relief to see Elfyn Llwyd in the House yesterday, still alive and asking questions. He's always more interesting than he looks. Tiny Plaid Cymru are a great parliamentary asset. Blair and Mittal's £2m, that was them. They kicked off Cash for Honours. The Blair Impeachment project, they did that too. Llwyd and Adam Price (they are two-thirds of their party) have probably had more effect on Parliament than the entire Liberal Democrats.

He was suggesting to Jack Straw that half the women in prison shouldn't be there (did you know women have gone to jail for not paying their television licence?). Leave aside his imprisoned women, Elfyn has another fish on the line.

Four years ago, he received a document – top secret, unsigned. From whom? I don't know. Why did he get it? Don't know that either.

What's in it? Ah yes, it details, he says, our leader's conversation at the famous Crawford meeting a year before the Iraq war started. It is, he tells me, "evidence of a done deal between Bush and Blair" and shows that in the light of Blair's subsequent answers on the subject that "the depth of the deceit is astonishing".

So that's why it's nice to see him kicking and swinging – and not from underneath Blackfriars Bridge. Why he has taken four years to bring it up I can't say but the news has been taken seriously enough to bring in interviewing officers from Special Branch and the Met. Over a week ago he offered the document to the Chilcot inquiry and he hasn't heard back. We'll just have to wait and see.

What else? It's a ragbag at Justice Questions, but none the worse for that. Barry Sheerman told us of his constituent who went bankrupt for £9,000. By the time PriceWaterhouse-Coopers had finished, she owed £80,000. When Sheerman wrote to them, they replied, and charged his constituent £800 for the letter. They're a great cure for hypotension.

Another rag from the bag: one Labour backbencher suggested that of 2 million overseas Britons, only 12,000 vote. A Tory pointed out that there were 3 million unregistered voters in this country. Five million voters not even in the franchise! That's one for the pub quiz setters.

And finally, the Speaker. Just to keep you up with it. "I don't want to cause friction in the Winterton household," he said. "Having called Sir Nicholas – Ann Winterton!"

There was also, "I'm glad to see the House in such a good mood!"

And, "I'm sure the House is grateful for the courtesy of such full ministerial replies but in view of the number of members trying to catch my eye I think we would be better served by the abridged version rather than the full War and Peace."

Charming? Amiable? Game-show compere? You decide.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

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