Quentin Letts

Quentin Letts is the sketch writer for the Daily Mail.

Who has the worst voice in parliament?

For the first time in more than two decades we are dog-less, and the house feels horribly empty. Our Patterdale terrier, Bonnie, led a long, vigorous life but her balance had gone and her breathing was heavy, so we called the vet. Patterdales are little imps and Bonnie was ‘known to the police’. I never

Carrie Johnson and the tragedy of pond life

As so often, Hello! magazine had the scoop. Carrie and Boris Johnson are expecting again. This time it is ducks. For her 36th birthday Mrs Johnson was presented with an incubator and some duck eggs. Any day now there will be a splintering of shell and a chorus of incipient, high-pitched quacks as another waddling brood

The customer is never right

Penny Mordaunt, who carried her sword with such panache at the coronation, has called for 2024 to become the year we ‘make the consumer the king again’. I like Mordaunt. You should see the way she demolishes her Labour and Scots Nats counterparts in the Commons. But with her call for customers to be treated

48 ways the Tories could win

Conservative strategists gawp at their end-of-year opinion-poll ratings like European space officials watching another Ariane rocket plop into the ocean off French Guiana. Fret not! To misquote Emperor Hirohito, electoral fortunes may have developed not necessarily to their advantage, but extinction could yet be averted by adopting the following measures:

London theatre needs Kevin Spacey

Lee Anderson, deputy chairman of the Conservative party, popped a few monocles by saying asylum seekers reluctant to stay on a Home Office barge could ‘fuck off back to France’. Wash your very mouth out! Where did Anderson think he was performing? At the Royal Court theatre? The Guardian, which long teased Mary Whitehouse for

The civil service’s exercise in navel-gazing

Are you happy in your work? In 37 years of journalism I don’t remember once being asked that question by my bosses. Nor did I expect to be. But in the civil service there is a bureaucratic machine to make sure employees are asked once a year if everything is all right, dearie. At unpublicised

How to fail upwards

Steam, which is largely insubstantial, rises. The same goes for soap suds, methane bubbles and numerous politicians. We naively consider 21st-century Britain a meritocracy, yet serial failures still float to the top of our public life. It has been a good year for these latter-day Widmerpools. Two changes of prime minister provided rich openings. One

Best of the Blob: who would be picked for its 1st XV?

Selectors for the Blob have chosen their 1st XV. Fans of The Game sometimes ask, as they do about Barbarians RFC: ‘Who are these people, do they have any supporters and who exactly pays them?’ Well, now we have the answer to at least that first question. Full back: Sir Philip Barton, head of the

The miraculous rise of June Sarpong

In this season for miracles, the rise of June Sarpong continues: she has been made a trustee of the Donmar Warehouse, that London theatre attended by City snoots and funded partly by taxpayers. Every era has its Widmerpool, the slaloming careerist in A Dance to the Music of Time. Who is our Widmerpool? Gove? Sir

The unbearable pointlessness of Parliament

Christmas books pages usually invite columnists to nominate their publishing event of the year. Well, here’s a corker: The Ties that Bind: Citizenship and Civic Engagement in the 21st Century, published by the House of Lords Citizenship and Civic Engagement committee. That obscure body has 12 members and takes itself seriously. The Ties that Bind

The Establishment of 2018 – a who’s who

  Old establishment New establishment Order of the Garter BBC Sports Personality of the Year Parliament’s Woolsack The Supreme Court The Borgias Sir Nicholas Serota and friends William Rees-Mogg Owen Jones Jacob Bronowski Simon Cowell Ciggy soak and TV cook Fanny Cradock Clean-living (Deliciously) Ella Mills Shirley Williams Lily Allen MCC committee members BBC trustees

Quentin Letts: The unstoppable rise of June Sarpong

Eton’s free-speech rumpus must surely become a David Hare play, Goodbye Mr Had-Yer-Chips, starring Jeremy Irons as the headmaster and Maxine Peake as the staff member who sneaks on the English beak teaching non-feminist critical thought. Like most attempts at suppression, Eton’s will be counter-productive. Teenage boys adore political martyrdom. Eton’s top man, Simon Henderson,

Paper chasers

Christmas books pages usually invite columnists to nominate their publishing event of the year. Well, here’s a corker: The Ties that Bind: Citizenship and Civic Engagement in the 21st Century, published by the House of Lords Citizenship and Civic Engagement committee. That obscure body has 12 members and takes itself seriously. The Ties that Bind

The Establishment of 2018: a guide

  Old establishment New establishment Order of the Garter BBC Sports Personality of the Year Parliament’s Woolsack The Supreme Court The Borgias Sir Nicholas Serota and friends William Rees-Mogg Owen Jones Jacob Bronowski Simon Cowell Ciggy soak and TV cook Fanny Cradock Clean-living (Deliciously) Ella Mills Shirley Williams Lily Allen MCC committee members BBC trustees

Order, order | 13 December 2017

Diet nannies will spend Christmas telling us ‘you are what you eat’ but in the House of Commons ‘you are where you sit’. Are you a Tory Whips’ stooge or a Dominic Grieve groupie aching to block Brexit, a braw new blue Scot or an English provincial plodder without hope of advancement? Parliament-watchers discern plenty

Causes without a rebel

One of the better plays at the National Theatre in recent weeks has been about a 21st-century banker, Judy, who quits her job to become a 1950s-style housewife. In Laura Wade’s Home, I’m Darling, Judy ditches her corporate wardrobe for a kitchen pinny and feather duster. She could have stepped from the Good Housekeeping domestic

Diary – 19 April 2018

Our ducks are back. Two wild mallard have spent the last five springs on the brook which gurgles past us in Herefordshire. Each year they produce a paddling of chicks; each year most of the ducklings are killed by predators. Our friend Becky thinks she spotted an otter, more likely stoat or mink, in the

New Year, new world order

  Old establishment New establishment Order of the Garter BBC Sports Personality of the Year Parliament’s Woolsack The Supreme Court The Borgias Sir Nicholas Serota and friends William Rees-Mogg Owen Jones Jacob Bronowski Simon Cowell Ciggy soak and TV cook Fanny Cradock Clean-living (Deliciously) Ella Mills Shirley Williams Lily Allen MCC committee members BBC trustees

‘Our children are horrified’

Wrexham, North Wales   To window cleaner Andrew Atkinson, Theresa May’s ‘blue-collar Conservatism’ is not just a slogan. It’s what he is. For the duration of the general election, gap-toothed, 32-year-old Atkinson has hung up his chamois leathers and water-fed poles and taken to campaigning on doorsteps in a bid to become Wrexham’s first Conservative