UKIP's historic victory

Laura Pitel underestimates Ukip’s achievement by describing it as “the first non-mainstream party to win a national poll in 100 years when it topped the European elections” (Dec.27). In 1914 the two main parties, Liberals and Unionists (as the Tories then called themselves) had 272 seats each in the Commons.

Alistair Lexden raises some key issues about the role of ministerial special advisers

The news on December 19 that the Home Secretary’s two special advisers had been removed from the Conservative Party’s official candidates’ list stirred a great deal of comment in the media. In a letter to The Times, Alistair Lexden enlarged the discussion by pointing out the need to evaluate the work that special advisers do.

Alistair Lexden recalls the antics of Winston Churchill’s budgie

After his return to Downing Street in 1951, Churchill had a pet budgie, called Toby, who was thoroughly spoilt by his master. Alistair Lexden provided a little light holiday entertainment for readers of The Daily Telegraph by devoting his twelfth and final letter of 2014 in that paper, published on December 20, to the havoc which Toby created in Churchill’s bedroom.

Royal Assassin - Roderick MacLean

Queen Victoria scarcely turned a hair when on March 2, 1882, Roderick Maclean became the seventh person to try and kill her (“ Mad poet who shot at Victoria”, Nov.27). “He had fourteen bullets on him”, she noted calmly.

Who invented the dinner jacket?

The DJ was not invented by New York’s Tuxedo Club in 1886 (letter, Nov.14). One of the club’s members, James Potter Brown, was introduced to it in England by its creator, the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII. The aim was to enable him to dispense with full evening dress while at sea during the first royal visit to India in 1875. There was no relaxation of other formalities. Sweating in temperatures of 100 F, the party rose to toast Queen Victoria at the end of each meal while the band played the National Anthem.

Telegraph: Putin's rewriting of history

President Putin claims that "Britain and France had destroyed any chance for an anti-fascist front with the Munich Agreement"("There was nothing wrong with the Soviet Union's pact with the Nazis,says Putin", Nov.7). He flagrantly falsifies history.

The Times: Andrew Lansley

Andrew Lansley’s talent for acting foolishly without regard to the financial consequences first became apparent when, as Director of the Conservative Research Department, he changed the Party’s manifesto for the 1992 election behind the back of John Major’s advisers while it was at the printer. It cost some £50,000 to return it to the condition that the cabinet had approved. If the kindness of the party hierarchy had not saved his career at that point, the NHS budget today would be in a better state.

Heed Churchill's advice over the European Convention

In a letter (attached) in The Daily Telegraph on October 6, he recalled Churchill's strong conviction expressed in a speech in 1949 that individual countries should always decide how  judgments of the European Court of Human Rights should be put into effect. Europe must go back to that original Churchillian vision, he stressed.

Deep Blue Boris

My friend Mark Field doubts whether Boris was a Tory at Oxford (NS Profile, 26 September). He was sufficiently interested to apply on graduation for a job in the Conservative Research Department where his father had once worked--rather by accident, it is true--as its first environment specialist.