Truthful government - Gummer v Henderso

SUFFOLK Coastal Tory John Gummer has got the wrong side of Harwich's Labour MP Ivan Henderson with remarks made he made in the Commons last week on the Government's definition of truth.

SUFFOLK Coastal Tory John Gummer has got the wrong side of Harwich's Labour MP Ivan Henderson with remarks made he made in the Commons last week on the Government's definition of truth.

Referring to the continuing allegations that the Prime Minister deliberately misled the country on the nature of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, Mr Gummer mused why the so-called "entirely untruthful allegation - the hateful lie to which the Prime Minister referred" immediately took legs."

Mr Gummer believed the Government had to recognise that there was "a widespread view that it was not always as careful with truth as it ought to be. "I submit that Bernie Ecclestone, Mr Mittal, the Wal-Mart meeting, the Sudanese aspirin factory, the Hindujas, the Berlusconi phone call, the Queen Mother's funeral and that first dodgy dossier gave credence to that untruthful allegation."

Tough words, which were too much for Mr Henderson. He issued a Press release recalling the then Agriculture Minister's role in the BSE affair and the now infamous beef burger photo opportunity with his daughter.


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"Any breakdown of trust between the British people and government resulted from actions such as these by the previous government," said the Harwich MP. "It is beyond belief that Mr Gummer, who sat in the Tory government with Jonathan Aitken, Jeffrey Archer and Neil Hamilton, should be calling into question the honesty of a government which has been cleared by an independent inquiry of any wrong doing."

AT least Labour has given Mr Gummer some cheery news - the man responsible for the 18.5% rise in Suffolk's council tax last year has been chosen as his opponent at the General Election. I suspect David Rowe's roll in the most unpopular decision taken in the council's history will figure more than once in the Gummer re-election literature.

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AS Anglia Railways faces up to imminent extinction, it has managed to upset more than somewhat the Liberal Democrats' transport spokesman in the House of Lords, Baroness Scott of Needham Market. I bumped into her at Ipswich station last week, fuming at a 25-minute delay for her train to Felixstowe. "Not bad for a journey that takes just 20 minutes," she snapped.

WHAT a bargain! For as little as £2,000, you can buy a familiar London jump-on, jump-off double-decker Routemaster red bus. They are gradually being phased out in favour of driver-only bendy buses and other new vehicles.

A spokeswoman for Transport for London (TfL) said: "The Routemaster is coming towards the end of its life and is becoming increasingly expensive to maintain. We do hope to keep some on as tourist buses, but eventually they will all disappear from the main London bus network."

At present, just 16 London routes have 50 year-old Routemasters, with 500 buses involved. The more easily accessible new bendy buses can carry up to 140 passengers to the Routemaster's 73.

If only I had space on my drive for one!

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