Tory Tim just can't punctuate

23rd January 2004 at 00:00
Tim Yeo, the shadow education secretary, can't seem to help himself. Give him a comma or a full stop to write and he is in full command. He even dashes off hyphens with aplomb. But confront him with an apostrophe and he seems overcome.

We first noticed Mr Yeo's affliction (by far the worst case of apostrophe-itis we have encountered) in November, when The TES pointed out that the then newly appointed shadow education secretary's first two press releases contained two apostrophe clangers. For the record, the former Charterhouse pupil referred to "Margaret Hodges' comments" and accused the Government of rehashing the three "r's".

In his press release on GCSE league tables last week, everything goes swimmingly until the last paragraph, where Mr Yeo argues that national targets should be scrapped: "LEA's (sic) would be able to better focus their energies with regard to local need. We need teacher's (sic) deciding what is best for their pupils, not civil servants." A copy of best-selling punctuation guide Eats, Shoots and Leaves, has been sent to Mr Yeo's office.

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