Westminster Times
Westminster Times (Reuters)

Since when did jam and marmalade become the Great British Breakfast?

LibDem MP Tessa Munt has warned that plans to reduce the maximum sugar content in jams from 60% to 50% will turn them into "coloured mud" adding: "I think this is going to be the end of the British breakfast as we know it."

Exactly who knows it? Toast and marmalade is a perfectly nice accompaniment to a British breakfast, but as everyone knows, the real full English consists of bacon, eggs (fried or scrambled), sausages, beans (optional), fried bread and black pudding (optional). With an extra fried slice to really boost the cholesterol levels. If you think that is bad, try an Ulster Fry.

And any MP who doubts that this is the real thing should visit their own canteens to see what a roaring trade is done in these morning meals. Well, they do say it's the most important meal of the day.

Boris, inevitably

Boris Johnson probably deserves a regular column featuring his own more bizarre pronouncements - remember him telling students in Beijing that Harry Potter's first girlfriend was a Chinese exchange student as though it represented some great cultural breakthrough moment.

Today's entry would have to be the London Mayor's remarks at the Islamic Economic Forum meeting in London where he declared he was a proud supporter of halal food: "Otherwise halal eating people wouldn't be alive".

No, I don't know what that means either and I'm not sure I want it explained.

In or out?

Nigel Farage will be appalled. But according to the Electoral Commission there are still many British voters who are completely ignorant of the fact we are a member of the European Union.

The Commission has thrown government plans for a referendum on our continuing membership of the EU into confusion after revealing the planned wording is unclear because it doesn't make it obvious we are already members - and that might mislead some people.

So the question: "Do you think that the United Kingdom should be a member of the European Union?" might have to be changed.

"A few people did not know whether or not the UK is currently a member of the EU, and this presented a risk of misunderstanding," the commission found.

I suppose inserting the words "continue to" between "should" and "be" would be asking too much.

Sorry Nigel, your work is not yet finished.

Palace thrones

It is not that long ago that women MPs were occasionally forced to use male lavatories in the Palace of Westminster because there simply weren't enough women's facilities. Even now some have been converted into unisex toilets to meet demand, as it were.

Now, with a new influx of Peers into the House of Lords, there has been an investigation and it can be revealed, to everyone's relief, that there are enough facilities to go around.

Chairman of committees, Lord Sewel, has issued a written statement declaring there are there are 57 male urinals, 85 male WCs, and 73 female WCs in the Lords, as well as 40 WCs "not assigned to either gender".

Although he did confess that "the ratio of toilets per person is variable".

Playing to the gallery

The chairman of the Commons Media Committee, John Whittingdale, was recently quoted complaining that some members of the body had a tendency to "play to the galleries" when interviewing witnesses.

Within hours of his words ricocheting around Westminster he had to "explain" to his committee that, of course, he didn't mean any of them who are all sober, sensible politicians and not the sort to go seeking headlines.

Yes, that can be the problem of course. Just ask anyone who witnessed members of the energy committee not seeking headlines when they took evidence from the big six energy companies.

Plain Speaking

Commons Speaker John Bercow has never been a favourite on the Tory benches where he is viewed as a "sanctimonious dwarf" to quote Simon Burns who recently bid for the job as his deputy.

He doesn't care. In fact he seems to be relishing getting his own back on his old colleagues.

He recently slapped down Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt when the minister attempted to attack Labour over its record on the NHS, declaring: "He can abandon that plan now and resume his seat."

But his most vicious yet came during the most recent Prime Minister's Question Time when he turned on David Cameron's Parliamentary Private Secretary Gavin Williams in a bid to calm him down.

As the PM's aide "his role is to nod his head in the appropriate place and fetch and carry notes," he said.

Cruel. But true.

Twittering on

It may come as a surprise, but former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair does not tweet.

During a recent Q and A session in London he was asked if he was on twitter. This was his answer.

"My office is on Twitter. I don't tweet myself - at least, not intentionally, (how do you unintentionally tweet by the way). But I probably should do.

"It's one of the most difficult things today in politics is that there's such noise generated around you and around your decision making, I think it's really hard for a political leader to take a step back and work out what is real and what isn't. I sometimes get political leaders who'll say to me, 'You want to see what's happening on Twitter around such-and-such.' And I say to them, 'That may be real, and it may be representative, or it may not. Or it may be a spasmodic burst of opinion rather than a considered strand of opinion.' Dealing with that, I think, is very tough. The other thing I think's really interesting, when I look back on my time - and I say this to leaders a lot - is that as a result of the way the media works today, scandals and crises, that is just part of your life. So you're living with a constant, as I say, barrage of noise and static around you."

Suddenly 140 characters looks really appealing and plenty long enough for most purposes.