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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sorry is the hardest word

Gordon Brown has written to all the libelled Conservative MPs telling them how much he regrets the slurs that appeared against them in e-mails sent by his special advisor.

According to Paul Flynn on Radio Wales this morning that amounts to an apology. However it is not enough for the MPs concerned. In the meantime I have now heard two members of the Government contradict Mr. Flynn by telling the media that the Prime Minister has nothing to apologise for as he was not responsible for the e-mails.

Technically, of course that is correct. However, Damian McBride was the Prime Minister's own Special Advisor and as such Gordon Brown is responsible for Mr. McBride's actions and behaviour in that role. As a line manager the buck clearly stops with the PM and as such an apology is very much in order.
All that you say is correct.

However, it's worth remembering that when Watford Conservative candidate Ian Oakley was convicted harassment and criminal damage against political opponents, the Conservatives did not apologise immediately. Instead they said they couldn't comment as Oakley had resigned. It took 150 days for Cameron to say anything about the issue and even then it was a half-hearted expression of regret not a proper apology.

However deplorable Mr McBride's behaviour and inadequate the government's response, the Conservatives hardly have the moral high ground about dealing with political loose cannon who smear their opponents.
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