'Don the Marigolds, Sugar': It could be getting messy

Tin helmets on. A senior Labour peer has been in touch to tell me exactly what he thinks of Lord Sugar. And it ain't pretty.

You will recall that BBC TV presenter Sugar is threatening to sue me.

He believes, in my view erroneously, that I suggested he is not the brightest of buttons and was made a peer because he was a telly celebrity. His lawyers, Messrs Herbert Smith, keep sending me batey letters.

Sir Alan Sugar

'You're fired': Alan Sugar is threating to sue Quentin Letts

Enter Lord Evans of Temple Guiting (Lab), until recently a Government Whip. Better known as publisher Matthew Evans and as the husband of fizzing literary agent Caroline Michel, he used to be a trade minister and a pensions minister.

It even fell to him to escort Lord Sugar back into the Chamber after he swore his oath in the House of Lords. Evans is one of Westminster's in-the-know crowd.

So what is his opinion of Sugar? 'He does not represent in any way anything I think about the Labour

Government. For a man to be given a peerage whose public image is that of a TV bully saying "you're fired" - well, I don't understand how it happened. Whose decision was it? Who said: "What a jolly good idea, make him a peer?"'

Alan Sugar

The gloves are on: Alan Sugar may be clearing his own U-bend

Lest some of you be tempted to think I am breaking a confidence, I checked with Lord Evans that I could quote him as saying this.

I am thinking of starting a club for foes of Sugarlump. Lord Evans could be Hon Chairman and one of our first members could be Charlie Mullins, a London plumber. He, too, has been receiving legal threats from Sugar via Messrs Herbert Smudge.

Why? Because Charlie told a Sunday newspaper he thought Lord Sugar did not know 'the first thing about apprenticeships'. Lord Sugar should be careful.

In my experience, plumbers talk to one another. Fall out with one and you could fall out with the lot. Next time the loo gets blocked at Chateau Sugar, pleas to emergency plumbers could go ignored.

Sugarlump may have to don the Marigolds and clear his own U-bend, right up to the armpits.

Harvard University historian Niall Ferguson, who is even cleverer than Lord Sugar, and a great deal more handsome, is returning to England for a brief teaching engagement. Might his return become more permanent? How about a Regius Professorship of history? At Oxford University, say. Worth a fiver at the turf accountant's.

Hattie's batty about Dunkie boy

Alan Duncan, demoted for saying MPs' salaries were too low (he's right), was one of the few Shadow Cabinet members prepared to tell David Cameron when he was being idiotic.

No one will miss Duncan more than Harriet Harman. He used to flatter Harriet archly across the despatch box.

Boot feminist Hattie blushed and fluttered her eyelids like butterfly wings. Duncan is a gifted parliamentarian and good company. He'll be back.

Alan Duncan
Harriet Harman

Old rivals: Harriet Harman (right) will miss Alan Duncan (left) who was demoted for saying MP's salaries were too low

Commons Speakers often hold banquets for visiting potentates. Speaker's House dinners are attended not only by MPs but also by members of the Speaker's retinue.

Squeaker John Bercow's new spin doctor, Tim Hames (not a man to stint on the tuck), will no doubt become a regular at these troughings.

Ex-journalist Hames can look forward to rich-sauced gooseflesh, exquisite sweetmeats, jellied succulents and spiced custards of opulent order.

All washed down by burgundies and rieslings from the Speaker's cellars. Monsieur Sommelier, the stickies!

I do hope this is a good idea. When Comrade Hames was on The Times, he visited Washington DC and scoffed and sluiced rather too liberally of that city's refreshment parlours.

Maybe it was a bad prawn. Maybe one wafer-thin mint too many. Late that night, in a Georgetown shopfront, yeurrrgh. Ever thereafter he was known by some Times colleagues as 'Hurler Hames'.

Nicholas Soames

Nicholas Soames: Right man for the job?

There is a vacancy for the chairmanship of the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee now that Sir George Young has accepted a Tory frontbench job.

Nicholas Soames, often underestimated, could well fit the job.

Just call me Twiggy

Former habitues of the Colony Room club descended on Westminster City Hall, dressed in the club colours of bilious green (to match their livers).

The Colony, once frequented by Jeff Bernard and Keith Waterhouse, was a Hogarthian drinking den in London's Soho. A friend, making his debut, ordered a triple vodka and soda.

'Not bad for a beginner,' sniffed the barman. The club is shut at present and there are plans to turn it into flats.

Cue hot-breathed protests from old Colony sweats. A petition attracted scores of signatures (not all entirely legible) and Thursday's protest threw a spanner in the development plan.

City Hall beheld the baleful gathering of WC Field snouts and hurriedly said no to initial planning permission.

The campaign is being led by a magnificent, 20-plus stone trencherman, Michael Peel, who quaffs port by the pint. 'Until this campaign few people from the club knew my real name,' he booms. 'I was always just called "Twiggy".'

Lord, what a bulging briefcase

Back to that brainbox, that Erasmus de nos jours, Lord Sugar. He has just made his submission to the House of Lords register of interests.

Under 'shareholdings' he lists the following subsidiaries: Amsprop London Ltd, Amscreen PLC, Amscreen Group Ltd, Complementary Technologies Ltd, Comtech Embedded Communications Ltd, Comtech Holdings Ltd, Comtech M2M Ltd, Comtech Products Limited, Viglen Technology Limited, Viglen Ltd, Vigecom Ltd, Pedagog Ltd, Xenon Network Services Ltd, Amshold Group Ltd, Amstique Ltd, Amstar Media Ltd, Amshold Ltd, Amsair Ltd, Amsprop Ltd, Amshold Securities Ltd, Amshold Trustees Ltd, ACL (1997) Ltd, Amshold Investments Ltd (Dormant), Amstrad Consumer Electronics Unlimited, Amstrad Espana SA, Amsair GmbH, Amsair Aircraft Ltd, Amsprop Spain SL, Amsair Executive Aviation Ltd, Amsprop Investments Ltd, Amsprop Central Ltd, Amsprop Mayfair Ltd, Amsprop Regent Ltd, Amsprop Financial Ltd, Amsprop Southbank Ltd, Amsprop Bishopsgate Ltd, Amsprop U.S.A Holding Inc, Amsprop Piccadilly Ltd, Amsprop Euston Ltd, Amsprop Portland Ltd, Amsprop Oxford, Amsturn Ltd, Amsprop (No.6) Ltd, Amsprop Properties Ltd, Amsprop City Properties Ltd, Amsprop Estates Ltd, Amsprop Florida LLC, Amsprop Florida Inv LLC, Deerfield Inv, Amsprop Dania Beach LLC, Amsprop Executive Aviation Corp, Amsgal Properties Ltd, Amsted Properties Ltd.

What a very big briefcase he must need for all those business cards. No wonder he doesn't always manage to find time to get rid of that silly stubble on his chinny chin chin.

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