29 JULY 1972, Page 11

Corridors . • •

ONE OF THE luckiest chaps at Westminster is Norman Tebbit who was an airline pilot. He had grave difficulty in convincing the Central Office that he should contest a seat and was advised to fight an unwinnable constituency to prove his worth. A bit of trouble over boundary juggling, and he found himself in the House for Epping. Not only that, because he is a pilot, he is the TV producers' choice for all matters aeronautical. Jealous young colleagues are threatening to learn to drive a bus in the hope of becoming transport spokesmen.

PUZZLE, LIKE MOST CHAPS who enjoy the grape and the grain, makes determined attempts, from time to time, to limit his drinking. This is very difficult in the Commons where so much of the business is done over a glass. Now Colonel Colin Mitchell has come up with a perfectly beastly suggestion to curtail a man's alcoholic intake. An acquaintance of his, who visits the Commons, carries in his pocket part of the preserved liver of someone who died of alcoholism. Then when he is asked for a drink he takes it out and looks at it.

FOR SOME REASON or other Mr John Pardoe has rubbed up many Tory backbenchers of late. Before anyone becomes too personal Puzzle must warn them that Mr Pardoe goes to Smithfield market from time to time, purchases a whole side of beef and carries it off to his Hampstead home. There he ferociously chops it into small pieces, puts it into the deep freeze, and then plays himself a little Mozart on the piano.

PUZZLE MET an Australian MP on the terrace of the House the other day who informed him that there is none of this nonsense about declaring business interests in the Australian Parliament because Ministers can keep on their business interests including directorships, PUZZLE entertained some medicals to lunch at the Commons this week. One distinguished medical chap explained that often doctors do not tell the patient what is wrong for they simply don't know and the patient often recovers anyway. Sound words indeed for any aspiring MP, the trouble being that doctors bury their mistakes more effectively than politicians.

PUZZLE MET the Speaker of the Indian Parliament on a visit to Westminster. He explained that procedure was exactly the same with such obvious pride that it seems some of the claims in more pompous Constitutional textbooks about our influence might be right after all — at least in India. Most surprising.