14 NOVEMBER 1992, Page 33

Nautical nuances

Sir: I now understand why your magazine relies heavily on anonymous quotations. You don't know how to quote correctly.

Here is the Dominic Lawson version of my comments (Diary, 7 November): 'In the Sunday Express . . . Bruce Anderson describes the Tory Maastricht rebels as "the worst specimens in British public life . . hysterics, half wits, nincompoops" .'

This is what I wrote: 'Among the ranks of the Tory rebels . . will be several of the worst specimens in British public life. They include hysterics, half-wits, nincompoops ... But there are also some honourable men and women who are spending this weekend wrestling with their doubts.'

Only a berk would claim that your 'quote' is an accurate account of my views.

Dominic Lawson is also seriously berkish in his account of a conversation with me. 'I recall, in the first stages of the Conservative leadership battle, asking Mr Anderson whether he would stand by his heroine Margaret Thatcher. "Yes, I'll go down with the ship," Bruce told me, "but I'll be first up in the life-raft."' Mr Lawson and I did not speak to one another in the first stages of the leadership battle. Our talk occurred after Mrs Thatch- er had resigned; we were discussing a piece that I would write about the Major cam- paign. I probably told him, as I recall telling others, that having gone down with the ship I was now swimming to the surface and looking for a lifeboat marked 'Major'. My version is also more plausible nautically.

Bruce Anderson

Sunday Express, Ludgate House, 245 Blackfriars Road, London SE I