Audit Commission minister leaves observers in awe

GRANT SHAPPS‘ performance in Parliament yesterday is one which will leave observers in awe for some time to come.

In awe at the sheer scope of his cheek. The junior minister to local government secretary Eric Pickles, decided to complain bitterly that officials at the Audit Commission were not helping reform in the department because they were briefing the weekend press. Briefing the press? Well, we couldn’t have that, could we?

Where could they have learned such a thing? Those bad guys in the Labour Party? Or could they have looked closer to home?

The fact is that Shapps’ complaint could only look justified if his own department had not indulged in the dark art of press briefing quite so energetically. When the abolition of the Audit Commission became known it was through a briefing to the press, with no consultation and without even informing the Commission itself. There then followed a frenzy of briefing as the government attempted to convince the public of the Commission’s poor spending habits.

So if the Commission is now briefing, well, they’ve had fine instructors in that discipline, and Shapp has little room to complain.

Mr Shapps’ youth should not be a measure of his judgement, as well as his looks.

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