Mickey taking

Doubts about home secretary Michael Howard's standing within his profession were dispelled by pre-publicity for the Criminal Law Solicitors' Association's annual conference. “Is anyone taking the Michael? (How much worse does it have to get before someone does?)” was the title of the press release announcing the meeting, which took place over the weekend.

A second release followed with news that the former Prison Service head Derek Lewis would also speak. Lewis would “join a high-profile list of speakers who look set to 'dish the dirt' on Michael Howard”.