Courtesy of Nicola Smith in yesterday's Sunday Times, we learn that the European Peoples Party (EPP) – of which the Conservative
For those doubters amongst you, these "study days" can be of considerable value. In my days in the "heart of darkness", I recall one which involved my spending the best part of a day perched on the top of a tree, deep in a forest on the fringes of the Pyrenees. There, I was forced to imbibe considerable draughts of local wine and consume industrial quantities of paté foie gras – all in the company of a group of heavily armed Basque gunmen (don't ask!).
Not for our EPP
To add to their hardship, the group will be limited to a cocktail lunch of 22 hot and cold culinary specialities created by Jean-Pierre Vigato, a top Paris chef. Champagne, French wines and liqueurs are also on the menu. Those invited have been told: "you may wish to bring a sun hat", illustrating the rigours that they will have to face.
They will also have a two-hour lunch hosted by France's ruling party, the Popular Movement Union (UMP), at the 18th-century residence of the president of the national assembly, and a drinks reception hosted at the Elysée Palace by Nicolas Sarkozy, all while having to slum it at the distinctly down-market Hôtel de Lassay (pictured).
And, for such great service, the
To reduce that hardship, the group will be accompanied by a salaried official from the parliament who will take with him the official register, sparing the
Given that our good and faithful
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