23 JUNE 1973, Page 11

Corridors. ..

BEING IN an expansive mood. Puzzle syinpathised over the weekend with the .poor' Prime Minister, who told Kenneth Harris of himself, "Another thing is that I enjoy talking. A lot of people don't realise this. They think all I want to do is press buttons and operate a machine. But, in fact, there is nothing I enjoy more than sitting around and iarking about things" Well ... it is true that eday likes to get the lads together for a crack, especially on overseas visits. But the technique is to give them lots of whisky and set them at loggerheads with one another. That's not what Puzzle calls conversation.

• RUMOUR HATH IT that the autumn reshuffle of the Government will have one important rule about its operation: nobody outside the Cabinet who has remained unmoved since 1970 will stay in the same job. It will be either up or out. Parliamentary Under Secretaries who have heard this can be divided into those who smile happily, and those who bluster.

.SIR ALEC IS NOT, repeat NOT, going. Reminded the other day of a remark he made a year ago to the effect that he would not be standing at the next election he looked vague and said, "Did I say that? I can't have meant it." So much for the scoop story — utterly without foundation, of course—With which the Daily Mail recently introduced its new political editor, Tony Shrimsley, from the Sun.

EVEN IF HE'S good at conversation, however, Teddy seems to have lost his touch for letter writing. Gentle readers Will remember that, during Phase I of the incomes policy he warned the Gas Council and the gas unions not to enter into agreements with one another that might not be allowed under the still unknown Phase 2. Puzzle hasn't nodded his saying anything like the same to either Gardiner's, the engineers, or Perkins of Peterborough, both of whom have been merrily—along with many other firms—making generous deals to come into effect when Phase 2 is over, and before they know what is going to make up Phase 3. Is our Teddy getting shy?

Tom Puzzle