Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Charles Clarke's Career Hangs in the Balance
I've spent much of this evening trying to work out what Charles Clarke's strategy is. His interviews have been decidely lacking in confidence, and while he fully admits he has to take responsibility he shows little sign of 'doing the decent thing'. Slightly to my surprise, David Davis has resisted in going for the jugular. I suspect he thinks
that given enough rope Clarke will hang himself, and for him to call for his resignation would make the Conservatives look opportunistic and nasty. That's certainly been his strategy over Beverley Hughes and David Blunkett. Let us also spare a thought here for South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon without whom this scandal would never have come to light. He has proven himself to be a superb questioner of government departments, particularly in his role of the Public Accounts Committee. He was also a lone voice on the Tory benches who spoke out against Party policy on the war in Iraq. So while one Norfolk MP's career hangs in the balance, another's looks rather brighter this evening. Hat-tip for graphic to Beau Bo d'Or
UPDATE: 10.50pm I've seen Charles Clarke's Newsnight interview with Paxo. He looked as if he knew the game would soon be up. I speculated to my partner that he might be gone by this time tomorrow. "But doesn't he have the Prime Minister's full backing?" came the rather ironic reply.
UPDATE: 11.20pm It occurs to me that members of Her Majesty's Press will be spending the next 24 hours or so searching for a serious crime committed by one of the 1,000 people let loose by the Prison Directorate when they should have been deported. If they find evidence of a rape or murder, Clarke will face even greater pressure. Judging from his performance on Newsnight I doubt he'd hang around. But I may be wrong! I should make clear that I like Charles Clarke. He's one of the few Labour Ministers I have time for and in some ways I'd be sorry to see him go. But personal feelings must be outweighed by doing the right thing. And I'm quite clear what that is.