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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Managing the crisis

Those Labour Party members who thought that the continuing controversy over e-mails between Damian McBride and Derek Draper was out-of-control and doing their party irreparable damage will be relieved to know that the head of the Civil Service has stepped in to block an inquiry into whether other ministers or special advisers were involved in the attempt to smear senior Conservatives.

This is just as well as according to the Independent rumours are swirling around Westminster that more damaging emails, which would embarrass the Prime Minister, are about to be leaked. They say that Labour MPs are appalled by the scandal and some are warning that further revelations could trigger a crisis of confidence in Mr Brown's leadership.

The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell, admitted that Mr. McBride's activities amounted to a "clear and serious breach" of the code of conduct for special advisers. He announced that in future, any special advisers who prepare or send out "inappropriate material" will be automatically dismissed. However, as the Independent points out the code already states that advisers should avoid "personal attacks", should "conduct themselves with integrity and honesty" and not use official resources for party political work.

Has the Cabinet Secretary drawn a line in the sand so as to create some space for the government to recover? We will see. Certainly, the jettisoning of Derek Draper by the General Secretary of the Labour Party last night is a clear attempt to pull the party back from the brink. How successful that is depends on the reaction of the British public to the affair. I suspect that it will be politics that is the loser from this scandal rather than just the Labour Party specifically.
Forget the Malcolm Tuckering code, do away with the Malcolm Tuckering SPADs!
Just when the Damien Green affair was to come public news once again, A Campbell and P Mendelson advised Gordon the Clown that it was the best time to say 'sorry', of cousre, desgined to divert attention for Jacqui Smith sorry handling of the whole affair. Typical opportunist spin by NuLabour, it disgusts me.
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