27 JANUARY 2001, Page 28

Pretty nasty woman

From Mr Richard Burge Sir: I have just read the article about me (Gone to Claridge's', 20 January), and never have I more regretted going for a drink with a pretty woman. It was really difficult to get to Claridge's for the interview, but Petronella insisted, and I went for an hour between a meeting with the heads of the hunting associations, a supper with our chief policy adviser, and a two-hour stint up to midnight at the vigil in Parliament Square. The only good news from the article is that my Marks & Spencer blazer and mail-order trousers cut such a dash. The champagne (sent over from the table where Petronella had other guests who looked as if they had a lifetime's expertise on the fizz) was excellent.

I am angry about her selective extracts from the interview. I am angry that Shropshire was made to look like Hicksville; that she ignored the fact that I went to a grammar school there (God, she wasted champagne on one of those!), and that the only reason I am in London is because journalists like her cannot stir themselves from Belgravia to find out what happens to real people.

Did this article get under my skin? Yes. Am I bloody angry? Yes. Do I ever want to see her again? No (but I will miss those fishnet stockings).

Richard Burge

Chief Executive, Countryside Alliance, London 5E11