Working at home with Pat and Percy on LibDem FOCUS copy

A milder day, with all traces of snow disappearing as a strong wind and showers developed from the south-west. Booking our US holiday flights and working at home with Pat and Percy on LibDem FOCUS copy as the US Gulf Ultimatum expires

To bed quite early last night but still a little tired this morning. I also retained that stiffness in my back (as I try to sit up first thing in bed each day) in sufferance for my exertions this last week. To breakfast after Debbie had gone to school, but Della was still here as she completed her week's half-term school holiday. I settled down to sort the rubbish from my desk and then made and received a number of telephone calls with my colleagues about local political activity and publicity.  Then I settled down with Diana to make some telephone calls about booking our US holiday during which we compared prices on the various methods of going and staying. The effect of the Gulf War and the recession has curtailed travel plans and now the airlines are beginning to offer special deals. For North-West Airlines, for example, the return flight costs would be £1424 rather than the £3082 for British Airways. In the end, however, we opted to fly British Airways on a direct route to avoid the delays of stopping off elsewhere and also to allay the security concerns of Diana and Angela's family.

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Then I made some progress with laying out the new FOCUS newsletter advertisements, completing the Buckden edition and progressing the other areas with my political colleagues. This evening, Pat and Percy Meyer came round and typed in their copy and, because of the continuing problems of the rail system, they arrived late and continued later still until I had to urge them out of the door to be able to go to bed! The US ultimatum is in place for the Iraqis to withdraw within a week starting at 5.00pm GMT tomorrow but this impracticality, together with the requirement to capitulate and make a public statement accordingly, just stiffened Iraqi public opinion around the Iraqi resolve. They do, however, accept the Soviet peace plan to withdraw within three weeks but this is dismissed by the Americans, with Major just hanging on the US president's coat-tails. A bit milder today, with all traces of snow disappearing and a strong wind and showers from the south-west.