Oh dear. The Sunday Telegraph's new political diary column Portcullis had made a bit of a bloomer. Having written the odd diary column in my time I know that a diary story does actually need to have a semblance of truth it if is not to trouble M'Learned Friend.
In its lead story, Portcullis purports to have proof as to why the "terminally aggressive" David Davis decided not to go for Jacqui Smith's jugular last week. It alleges it was because he "did not want his colleague Damian Green to be able to claim victory." The piece goes on to suggest that Davis was furious that Green had "nabbed the story for himself" the previous weekend and briefed journalists about the 5,000 illegal immigrants working as security guards. The story concludes: "Relations between the two men are now said to be so bad that Mr Green may have to go". Excuse me while I unsplit my sides laughing.
Whoever wrote this ought to know better. Not only is Damian Green one of David Davis's closest friends in politics, anyone who has worked with David Davis knows that in he is the very opposite of a control freak. All of his junior spokespeople are encouraged to pick their campaigns and run with them. Ask Dominic Grieve, Cheryl Gillan, Humfrey Malins, Patrick Mercer, Edward Garnier, Andrew Rosindell or James Brokenshire. They'll all tell you the same. That's why the Home Affairs team has always been good at getting press coverage and results. Contrast this with the real control freak in Number Ten. He tries to control everything and in the end controls nothing.
Davis always picks his moments before going for the jugular. Look back at previous Davis scalps - Beverley Hughes and Charles Clarke for example. Instead of immediately calling for them to go he acts like a cat playing with a mouse, deciding the best time and place to go in for the kill. Politically, it's much more effective than just jerking the knee.
Anyway, we have three basic errors in this story, one of which is probably actionable. In the words of the Allied Dunbar advert... there may be trouble ahead.