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Hounds' truth;Diary

LUCY HAS a rival. David Blunkett's guide dog is famous for her skills as a critic - demonstrated when she was sick on the floor of the chamber in the House of Commons as David Willetts rose to speak.

But there's another in the business with a similar talent. Her name is Sasha, guide dog to Dave Sheridan, a delegate at the bank holiday weekend's conference for those perennial post-16 agitators, NATFHE.

Sasha demurely led Dave to the front of the hall to address the throng on a disability motion. But half-way through his speech she decided she'd had enough and made a bolt for it, pulling her startled owner off the rostrum and into the nearby press table - presumably a warning to hacks to get their facts right.

Fortunately NATFHE's dog-loving head of communications, Paula Lanning, was on hand to calm Sasha down and persuade her to take Dave back to the stand.

Afterwards, Dave, who teaches maths and braille technology in Birmingham, was unruffled by Sasha's contribution. "That's nothing," he said. "During a speech by our college principal, she pissed on the floor."

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