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By Jonathan Isaby
It was remiss of me not to realise that yesterday was the 80th birthday of Lord Tebbit as I would have been delighted to note it in ConHome's Gazette.
However, this landmark in the life of the former Cabinet Minister did not escape the notice of several Conservative MPs, resulting in the following somewhat tenuous points of order in the Commons yesterday:
Dr Julian Lewis: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. There are certain politicians who arouse very strong feelings both in favour and against their political initiatives. One such politician is Lord Tebbit. I wonder whether there is any way within the rules of order that we may place on the record our appreciation of his long political career on this his 80th birthday, noting that he has gone from bovver boy to blogger in successive generations.
Mr Edward Leigh: Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. Although you are impeccably impartial, I know that deep in your heart there still lurks a little Tory. You will know the love and esteem in which Lord Tebbit is held on these Benches. May we not have some suitable memorial erected to him — perhaps a bicycle draped in the Union flag and carved in solid British oak?
Mr Speaker: The House should hold to the phrase “impeccably impartial”. I say to the hon. Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) that the short answer to his question whether that could be done within the rules of order is no. However, he and the hon. Member for Gainsborough (Mr Leigh) have found a disorderly but very far from disagreeable way to pay tribute to their illustrious colleague. I think that I can safely say that the remarks of both hon. Gentlemen will be appreciated by the noble Lord’s admirers and detractors in this House, the other place and around the country on the occasion of his 80th birthday.