During Business Questions yesterday Alan Duncan teased Harriet Harman about the black pen marks that have started appearing on the Despatch Box since Gordon Brown has been Prime Minister.

DUNCAN ALAN Alan Duncan: "May we have a statement on vandalism in this House? Indeed, may we have an inquiry into who has been regularly defacing the Dispatch Box opposite me and in front of the right hon. and learned Lady? It would appear—I can see it from here—that the culprit strikes once a week with a black felt-tipped pen, and detectives have already noted that the gravest occurrence seems to be on a Wednesday each week at around midday? Does the Leader of the House have any inkling of who the culprit might be, and is she prepared to reprimand him in the strongest possible terms?"

Harriet Harman: "That is not a matter for business questions."

James Forsyth at Coffee House was unimpressed with Mr Duncan's "bad taste" intervention:

"It is bad taste because the reason Brown uses a thick, black felt-tip because he is blind in one eye and has poor sight in the other. Whatever one’s opinion of Brown, his eye problem is not something that should be mocked. It is politically foolish because one of the themes that Labour is trying to get into the national conversation is that the Tories are a bunch of posh bullies. This kind of behaviour from Duncan plays into Labour’s hands. It is unnecessary and unpleasant."

Tim Montgomerie

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