Friday, April 03, 2009

Eric Pickles Gives a Mea Culpa to Andrew Neil

Eric Pickles has been interviewed by Andrew Neil on the BBC STRAIGHT TALK programme, which goes out on the New Channel tomorrow. Here's the exchange about his experience on last week's QUESTION TIME.
Andrew Neil: You were also brought in because you were seen to be a man of the people, so how could a man of the people make such a Horlicks of Question Time, as you did last week?
Eric Pickles: I think you’re being kind to me; I think it was worse than a Horlicks. It was like, it was like a car crash in slow motion, and which you’re just trying to steer away and the worse, the worse, the more I tried to steer away the worse it was. So actually...
AN: Didn’t you see it coming?
EP: Yes, that’s the worst thing, and you could see the conclusion coming and I made the mistake of making actually quite a trivial point. I should have been...but it has changed my views. It’s changed my views.
AN: Tell me why, and how...
EP: I used to think that actually all we needed to do was to increase the transparency and to increase the auditing. I don’t think that at all. I think we need a completely different system. I am embarrassed...
AN: A different manner of payment?
EP: Oh, absolutely. I am, I cannot justify Members of Parliament claiming flatscreen televisions, buying beds, buying 3-piece suites, buying cookers, buying microwaves. And the fact is, I have never done that and would never dream of doing that - as we say up north, ‘I buy me own bed’ - doesn’t in any way make me less guilty. It’s the fact I can, and I think we need to have a much more clearer, which removes all discretion, I don’t want to find ourselves in a position where somebody can’t be a Member of Parliament unless they are, to use your phrase, ‘a southern toff’, or somebody sponsored by a union, but I just feel now that the three party leaders have to come up to a conclusion. I think in many ways an inquiry is pointless. I mean, I heard you the other day; you went through all the various options, they’re pretty there, and we’re going to have to grab it, and I think we’ve got to be on the basis where it’s a lot less...
AN: For your expenses?
EP: Oh yes, absolutely, absolutely.
AN: Does David Cameron share your view on this?
EP: I think he does. If you recall him speaking last Wednesday saying that the Party leaders needed to decide, and I think they should.

You gotta love him.


BrianSJ said...

This is what gives hope. The preparedness to learn. Everyone makes mistakes (apart from Gordon Brown). It is what happens next that matters.

Plato said...

Good recovery - straight and blunt.

He needs to get on the front foot with this stuff, as per an earlier comment I am perplexed at the open goal that the Tories are ignoring.

I'd happily sacrifice at least two dozen Cons spongers for a clean system...starting with anyone who claimed within 15% of the maximum.

There are oodles of contenders who can take these seats - let's give them an opportunity to do so rather than more greedy lobby-fodder.

Unsworth said...

At least he's had the sense - and the courage - to admit error. How unlike the NuLab monsters who will never, ever, admit the slightest error or culpability.

Integrity, frankness and honesty are what the British people are desperate for. If Pickles and his colleagues continue this way they'll walk the General Election.

Duncan said...


None of this addresses (and Brillo didn't ask) the point that got everyone fuming on QT: that he claims for a second home when he lives just 37 miles from Parliament. Many of his constituents will do this commute to London, but it is too much for him.

Of course no-one is likely to nab Pickles's safe seat, so it means he will get away with it. Yet another failure of FPTP.

Why have I gotta love him?

Dick the Prick said...

It is ridiculous - has to be hotels or rent. Abbot last night said 'it is cheaper for MP's to buy their own house' before lambasting porn rather than Dick Tinmey.

It really is a tough nut to crack but everyone claiming the maximum doesn't help. Those who live from 10 - 50 miles (1hr) away should have hotel ability and those further, fair play rent or buy but just mortgage & standard bills and bloody receipts.

When politicians take on the civil service I'll wake up.

Dick the Prick said...

New Catholic 'bish is one of the boys.

I'm loving this Hollywood tour - I think it's great.

Plato said...

Duncan - start a blog - then you can develop your ideas about MP expenses.

I tried to visit your blog but your profile is blocked - que?

Duncan Stott said...

I don't have any ideas that other people have been suggesting far more eloquently than I can.

I'll set a profile up now.

IUnknown said...

Well, it's good that he admitted it is wrong to be claiming all this stuff, but why the hell do all these political elites come out with the "tugging of the forelock" when they've been caught?

I mean, FFS, these highly paid individuals involved in the most important and challenging aspects of UK plc are supposed to have a high moral integrity by default.

Instead, when someone has a disk of their itemised troughing, some of them come out bleating like lambs saying how bad the system is.

At least Pickles admits he screwed up royally, but labour are simply beyond the pail – reward failure and never resign for pretty much what is treasonable behaviour.

When these itemised receipts are published (hopefully after the porcine individuals have “censored” any plasmas from the bills) I hope they get the full wrath of a disenchanted and angry electorate.

strapworld said...

I admire him. I criticised him. I thought he should be sacked.

It takes a man to say sorry and Mr Pickles is a big man!

If only ALL politicians were the same.

Andrew Neil must interview Brown - he might achieve the impossible.

ryan007 said...

mr neil,could have dan (the man) hannan on and ask him about his comments, last night that he made about the NHS, on the hannity show on fox-2/4/09. he thinks that the NHS should be privatised. is this conservative policy?

Oldrightie said...

Eric makes Labour look very small.

bryboy said...

Sorry Iain too little too late!

Old Holborn said...

So he's NOT selling up his second home then, like he said he would on live TV last week?

Thought not, the fat lying pig

anonaLon said...

Derek Draper in threesome in Daily Mail (Picture, that is, not sure what you were thinking...)

Thatsnews said...

My word! If only Brown was more like Pickles!

"Yes. I was an idiot. I got it wrong. Sorry!"

But Brown is like the Fonz. Can't say: "I was wrong."

golden_balls said...

I still dislike him
he seems pompous and just out of his depth.

cameron made him party chairman for his northern straight talking attitude what piffle.

too many years down south for anyone in the north to take him serious and people have worked that out. His question time carcrash was a delight to see infact i've saved it on my generic pvr for future enjoyment lol

he's just a self obsessed oversized munchkin

but all that being said

could i have an invite to the next pickles party they do seem fun :-)

Thatsnews said...

By the way, I am not sure that the views of Draperists counts, as their rants are more than a tad Pavlovian...

Robert said...

'You gotta love him.'

No I don't. Same old MP's, same old trough.

When are they going to learn that the public is fed up to the back teeth with the lot of them.

If we love the Tories so much how come the are not further ahead in the polls?

Richard T said...

If I have read the transcript right, there's not a word of apology to anyone nor is there any indication that he'll stop claiming overblown expenses - particularly as they are not compulsory. I notice however from his general appearance that self denial may not be one of his virtues. Even better he might have said he'll pay soemthing back to the taxpayer. Incidentally the cost of an annual first class season ticket from Shenfield to London is currently £3,920. Can anyone say why we should pay the fat 'expletive deleted' anymore than that?