22 JANUARY 1972, Page 7

Fate has dealt a strange blow to Mr Frank Barlow,

secretary of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Alf Morris courageously fought to have his Disabled Persons Bill made the last Act of the Previous government and in consequence the Ministry of Works put ramps up the Side of stairs at Westminster. Now Mr Barlow has fallen down a ramp and broken his ankle. Before anyone finds that too hilarious for words I must report that the new parapet on the terrace appears to be perilously low and the Thames police may soon not only have to patrol the river to keep the IRA out but also to help the more emotional MPs back in.

Ireland is a destroyer of political i reputations and Mr Reginald Maulding s s?t. fair to be the most contemporary Ireland Discontent with his handing of and has led to murmers that he has really lost his touch in such disconnected matters as the imprisonment of Miss Pauline Jones and the assistance to the Tote. "Why couldn't Reggy have avoided the trouble with that girl by quietly agreeing to her going into a psychiatric hospital," said one of his former admirers. It is all a great pity, for junior ministers who serve under him on Cabinet committees come away with an immense respect for his intellectual abilities. Now that Conservative constituency parties are on the brink of checking their MPs' records to see if they merit the sack !)ef°re an election (well, that is the Intention Which of course has nothing to do with the Common Market rebels), they Must learn the proper sources for checking otn the members' performances. I suggest yhe excellent reference book The Political clear by Mr Peter Rose and Mr Robin akley (Pitmans, £2). It is a concise nisITinlarY of the whole year, and contains Chinsses of useful information on such R—gs as matters debated, legislation assed, and major government publications. It also gives the speaking record of ,rneMbers and the names of all the ,O,ounders who took part in rebellions. And 4 ;_ne authors? Mr Rose is a highly nowledgeable young man who is a lobby ziSoTeciaksPonledyent for Northcliffe newspapers. is the dreaded Crossbencher linself, I suggest that when delinquent sinembers stand humbly before the conr"ttiticY Party chairman they should be p"is uired to tell the truth by swearing on Most useful volume.

IfIr , I • 1

Tom Puzzle