Grant Shapps has been accused of misleading parliament and breaking the ministerial code by making up housing statistics as he goes along. His series of blunders include claiming housing stock decreased by 45,000 under Labour, thensaying it was 200,000.
Spinning Shapps also told parliament the number of new builds in England rose by 25% in 2011 compared to 2009 — attempting to cover-up official figures showing they were actually down 4% from the previous year.
Taking to Twitter to hit back at Jack Dromey MP, who has complained to the UK Statistics Authority, the best Shapps could do was bleat that a Labour Party press release had referred to him as “minister for Daybreak“.
Perhaps the publicity hungry minister should have checked his own Twitter account, where he has bragged about being on the programme at least three times:
A United States congressman fighting for re-election has been caught photoshopping his Jewish mother out of a picture on leaflets going to non-Jewish voters. Voters with Jewish surnames in California’s 27th congressional district would receive a leaflet with Brad Sherman’s smiling mother — but others received a version in which she had been digitally removed.
The cynical gaffe recalls an incident in 2007 in which the culture secretary James Purnell was (badly) edited into a photo call. Purnell turned up too late for the photoshoot outside Thameside hospital — so agreed to, erm, pose for a snap which would be merged with the original.
If only government ministers could be airbrushed away so easily.
This morning saw Political Scrapbook raised at the Leveson Inquiry, with Tom Watson forced to deny he was part of the “management” of this website — a ridiculous notion to anyone with knowledge of the UK blogosphere.
The questions asked by Robert Jay QC were put to the inquiry by a core participant — an individual accorded special rights to view witness statements and suggest lines of questioning.
The bizarre exchange left the Scrapbook office wondering which core participant we have offended such that they would put these questions to the inquiry.
We’ve obviously been ruffling some feathers somewhere.
Miliband’s opponents on both sides of the chamber were hoping that today would be the moment things got very sticky for the Labour leader (see this cartoon from ConHome).
But with the SNP failing to snatch Glasgow City Council and and Ken Livingstone’s defeat balanced by a strong showing on the London Assembly, Miliband-aligned Labour sources are digging their heels in: “None of those looking to destabilise Ed can deliver the change the party needs.”
The fallout from the CMS Committee’s report into phone hacking continued this morning, with private committee discussion spilling out on to Twitter after Louise Mensch revealed details of MPs deliberations on this morning’s Today Programme.
In acrimonious exchanges, it was revealed that Mensch had withdrawn an amendment critical of James Murdoch, while Watson seemed to imply that Rupert’s son had been tipped off as to MPs’ concerns — sending the committee a letter addressing issues raised in private.
Being forced to apologise by her peers for levelling unfounded hacking accusations clearly hasn’t tempered Mrs Mensch’s self-rightous indignation.
It appears that Treasury spinners may have told BBC producers that Danny Alexander would not debate with Ed Balls on Newsnight. With his department stewarding the economy back into recession, Alexander did not engage directly with the shadow chancellor late yesterday — despite being one of the most senior figures in the government with an annual salary of £134,565.
In bizarre scenes, Balls and Alexander were sat opposite each other but never exchanged blows, with the segment split into two seperate interviews with Kirsty Wark.
Danny: if you can’t stand the heat then get back to the Cairngorms National Park press office.