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One-way ticket to mayhem

Misfortunes, they say, never come singly. For new Education Secretary Estelle "Mr Bean" Morris, they rarely seem to come in anything less than a six-pack. This is the woman, remember, who was late for a reception last year because a water fountain exploded in her offices.

A few months before, her own flat flooded and bottles of fizzy red wine (don't ask) started exploding unaccountably. And then there was the time she arrived late for Parliamentary Questions after getting herself trapped in a lift at the education department's Sanctuary Buildings.

It was no surprise, then, when Ms Morris arrived late for a speech at the Local Government Information Unit conference in Birmingham. After first driving to the wrong venue, Ms Morris admitted that her rush to the Chamberlain Tower Hotel had descended into slapstick: "I had a row with a bus trying to go around a corner. It was only when we came across the second bus, which was much more off with me, that we realised that we were going the wrong way down a one-way street." Good practice for battling the teaching unions.

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