15 JANUARY 1977, Page 16


Sir: I am now able to reveal a hitherto well-kept unofficial secret about Auberon Waugh. There was an amendment to the Public Lending Right Bill which Roger Moate and I did not put down and its text is as follows: No journalist who repeats a factual inaccuracy shall receive any benefit from this Bill, either directly from his own books or by inheritance.

That Mr Waugh, in another journal, should regard our opposition to the Public Lending Right Bill as motivated by my being a bachelor and Roger Moate being childless would reveal something about the psychology of Mr Waugh rather than us, if it were true. The charitable would even forgive him for not knowing that I am married, since I married during the year, though many (including one of Bron's own relatives) read their newspapers and congratulated me. It is more difficult to understand how he failed to notice that Roger Moate has two children, a circumstance which takes a little time to arrange.

You yourself, however, must make your own mind up about the relevance of repeating the first of these errors in your issue of 18 December, merely because my surname quite accidentally coincides with that of David English.

Michael English MP (Labour) for Nottingham West House of Commons, London SW1 PS: To be fair to Auberon he may not have realised that the Government so drafted the PLR Bill that it would not, had it passed, have applied to the works of any eminent deceased author.