Higher education minister Margaret Hodge has revealed herself to be a budding linguist. She told a Westminster Hall debate on language teaching and learning, earlier this month, that she was fortunate enough to have learnt four languages by the age of five. She said: "I can even manage the odd Arabic sentence. One is something along the lines of 'Bukara ei mish mish' , which means 'Tomorrow we shall have apricots'." The Diary is suitably impressed that the minister can promise jam tomorrow in more than one language.