There was another occasion, long before Rishi Sunak was fined last week, when a prime minister was spotted in a car without a seatbelt. When Margaret Thatcher opened the last section of the M25, I was there for the Guardian (Report, 30 October 1986). I wrote: “With the rejoicing over it was time for the tour, with the prime minister sitting in the front seat of the Daimler – without the regulation seatbelt: ‘What do you want me to do – knock her off?’ said a policeman, overhearing the comments.” And that was that.
• Gavin Ewart bemoans the BBC referring to “serious professional women tennis players” as “girls” (Letters, 9 July 1986) . More to the point, the phrase is a double oxymoron: being pointless and without meaning, sport is the antithesis of seriousness and, while some do it for a job, it should be called professional only sarcastically.
• I trust that Prof Julie Lovegrove (Beans in toast: UK should switch to broad bean bread, say researchers, 18 January) will make it clear that fava beans can cause major problems for people with G6PD deficiency. This condition particularly affects those with a Mediterranean heritage, some African populations, and me from Yorkshire.
• The most effective way to solve the NHS funding crisis (Gordon Brown warns of Tories ‘testing the water’ for two-tier healthcare, 23 January) will be to renationalise the hospitals whose finances are sinking under disastrously heavy financial commitments to PFI.
Dr Elizabeth Waterston
Newcastle upon Tyne