Horsing around

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John McTernan (Perspective 14 March) credits Harold Wilson with remarking that politicians should be able to ride two horses at once to qualify for the parliamentary circus.

I think this attribution must be wrong as I heard this witticism in the 1940s when it was linked to James Maxton, leader of the Independent Labour Party in the inter-war period.

Told that one of his few MPs was demurring at having to support policies he thought inconsistent, Maxton allegedly retorted: “If he can’t ride two horses at once what is he doing in this circus?”

In short, I am suggesting that if Mr McTernan is tempted to ascribe this remark to Harold Wilson again, he should hold his horses.

S Beck

Craigleith Drive

Edinburgh