Most Parliamentary Sketch-Writers Aim Their Work at the Aficionados, of Whom There Are Few; the Times's New Writer Has a Homespun Wit That Appeals to the Common Person

Article excerpt

The Times is searching for a new parliamentary sketch writer. It has been searching since the magnificent Matthew Parris departed. Ben Macintyre made a good fist of it, until he was promoted to edit the new Saturday Review. So did Joe Joseph and Richard Morrison. Many of the Times's best writers have had a bash at this most difficult job. Alice Miles was wonderfully acerbic, but her dislike of the Tories was writ too large. Let's face it, they don't need any help looking ridiculous these days.

The latest to take up the reins is Ann Treneman, and I have to say, I like what I read. It is more daunting for a woman to enter the world of parliamentary sketch-writers than for her to take a wrong turn at the Garrick Club. It is strictly Boy's Own, with their little rituals and jovial clubbiness.

The club also contains some of the finest and funniest writers in the business--the Telegraph's Frank Johnson, the Guardian's Simon Hoggart, the Independent's Simon Cart and the Daily Mail's Quentin Lefts. …