Monday, 19 October 2009

Political hair pulling

I had a chat with someone from Downing Street after it emerged that the three party leaders would NOT be giving evidence side by side to the Speaker’s conference tomorrow.

Clegg, Cameron and Brown had apparently been scheduled to sit together and answer questions from the committee.

However, Andrew Sparrow blogged on talk that Number 10 had kicked up a fuss about the format and had insisted evidence was given by the leaders one by one, instead of side by side – leading to “Brown chickened out” type accusations.

But the Downing Street spokesman claimed the Tories were playing a game of “smokes and mirrors”.

I had to ask a few times whether the PM’s team had expressed any preference on the format, or asked it to be changed, to which the answer was a “no, not to the best of my knowledge.”

In fact, the spokesman countered, Brown was the one that pushed for a hearing of some sort in the first place, and actually it was Cameron who had initially not wanted to take part, but had later changed his mind.

The Tory leader was probably scared of being shown up for not having enough women in his parliamentary party compared to Labour, he said.

Now, now children. Play nicely. It is a shame, though, that we won’t get to see the look on Brown’s face as he sits wedged between Clegg and Cameron.

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