Sure enough, waiting on the runway at Nantes was a plane. But – oeups! – the bird in question was a mere 15-seater. Van Orden, Deva and others managed to get on board, leaving the other half of the party stranded in Nantes.Some time later, Air France diverted the remaining not-so-merry-band (some via Toulouse and some via Bordeaux) before finally delivering them to Strasbourg at 11pm – 12 hours and no less than three flights since their jaunt began.President Cox, meanwhile, had mysteriously managed to land at Strasbourg several hours in advance of his grumbling colleagues.Sources told EN that ‘Pat’s People’ got onto the British Foreign Office which, it transpired, had a nine-seater plane waiting at Biggin Hill military airport to ferry two Strasbourg-bound government representatives. Cox duly managed to cadge a lift.Despite his own late arrival, at least British Tory Heaton-Harris wasn’t too jealous ofCox’s preferential treatment: “Oh well,” he said, “that’s just the luck of the Irish…” Cox, Christopher Beazley, Geoffrey Van Orden, Nirj Deva, Chris Heaton-Harris, Elspeth Attwooll and Claude Moraes, among others, were booked on an Air France flight from London Gatwick airport to the French town.Well, that was the plan…but the flight was cancelled at short notice.The French operator, which has recently upped its prices as carrier between the two venues, eventually flew the 30-strong group to Nantes, promising seats on an ongoing flight from there to Strasbourg.