RISHI Sunak generated days of cringe-inducing headlines this week by throwing his toys out the pram in a row with his Greek counterpart over the Parthenon Marbles.

The Prime Minister has been accused by Labour of having “small” politics – not a reference to his height, we assume – after cancelling a meeting with Kyriakos Mitsotakis over comments the Greek PM made about the sculptures on Sunday.

The Greeks have hit back and said Sunak threw a tantrum with an eye on the election – suggesting he was trying to stoke a culture war he thinks may play well with Tory voters.

Most Brits think the sculptures – which the Greeks say were nicked by Lord Elgin in the 19th century – should be repatriated to Athens or simply don’t care where they are.

The National: King Charles

Even the King seemed to be against Sunak, wearing a striking Hellenic tie to the COP28 climate summit in Dubai on Friday, presumably not merely a nod to his father’s Greek roots.

It would be a strange way of trying to win votes if that is what is at play.

Stranger still would be trying to win votes by bringing back pints of champagne.

But the Tories clearly think it might – teasing an announcement that wine would once again be sold the imperial measures beloved by Winston Churchill in The Sun earlier in the week.

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Elsewhere there was an extraordinary moment in the Commons when Stewart McDonald challenged Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt on her crass dismissal of Scotland’s drug consumption pilot.

The National: Penny Mordaunt

McDonald’s brother Malcolm died of a drug overdose in 2020 and the Glasgow MP said her comments were “ignorant and contemptuous”.

She had previously described drug consumption rooms, with more than a touch of disdain, as somewhere "safe and warm" for heroin users to take drugs.

Mordaunt’s response was extraordinarily cool. She denied dismissing the comments before briefly expressing her condolences only to switch back to accusing the SNP of “failing” Scotland.

But it’s not all bad news. This week we also revealed how one SNP MP is acting as Scotland’s unofficial diplomat and ducking Foreign Office restrictions the Scottish Government’s External Affairs Secretary must deal with.

The National:

Chris Law (above) told us how he was meeting with “high-level delegations” from abroad and represented Scotland on the global stage without having to worry about UK Government interference.

He was appointed as the SNP’s international engagement ambassador earlier this year and said he had been using the role to speak with government ministers, officials and opposition politicians from around the world.

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External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson has faced increasing difficulties engaging with international politicians after a Foreign Office crackdown on his activities earlier in the year – which included UK officials holding follow-up meetings with people he met while abroad.

And finally, Common Sense Minister Esther McVey was laughed at on Question Time when she was grilled on what her job actually is.

Fiona Bruce commendably remained straight-faced while repeatedly asking her what the Minister for Common Sense does on a day-to-day basis.

Watch the clip if you want a laugh – not if you want to know what the role actually entails, McVey never really gets as far as explaining it.

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