20th September 1996 at 01:00
Stephen Byers, however, can take comfort from the fact that he was not the only Labour politician to suffer from technology this week. Graham Lane, who combines supremoship of the Socialist Educational Association with the chair of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities' education committee, was invited to take part in a breakfast telly knockabout on delinquent pupils with Sir Rhodes Boyson.

Being in the middle of a conference in Sheffield, it was agreed that Mr L would be picked up from his hotel at 6.15am and whisked by car to the studios where he would be linked in to the London sofa of Anthea Turner and Eamonn Holmes.

Pity that nobody remembered to tell the most essential part of this arrangement - the bod who had to open up and operate the Leeds studio which for some arcane reason links Sheffield with London.

Thus Sir Rhodes and his amazing whiskers were allowed free rein to opine on naughty pupils, while Mr L fumed impotently, unseen and unheard, in Sheffield. He ranted: "I don't mind being out at 6.15am to appear on television without being paid a fee, but I object to not being paid a fee and not appearing either".

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