A grammatical point that’s cropped up a couple of times this week.

Can ‘that’ be used in place of ‘who’?

Copy Editor Nick Howard has strong feelings on the point. He goes as far as insisting that “‘That’ does not refer to people”.

I disagree. I think it can do. Especially if you want to avoid re-using ‘who’ in only a few words.

Who do I mean? The Prime Minister that took us to war with Spain.

Or am I wrong? Who’s that disagreeing with me?