Earlier this afternoon I took part in a discussion on the Simon Mayo programme on 5 Live. I had been told that Liam Fox and Ann Widdecombe would be on, but the producers hadn't said that Barry Legg would be in the studio with me. I generally have a policy of not appearing on programmes with other Tories who I know are purely there to disagree with me, as it does not generally lead to a very edifying discussion. For those who have never heard of him, he was a Tory MP in the 1990s and before that was on Westminster City Council. He currently chairs the Bruges Group.
He was naturally against Ken Clarke having any role in the Tory Party whatsoever. Whatever question Simon Mayo asked him he always brought the subject back to Europe. It was like being in a timewarp. Suddenly I knew how Peter Mandelson felt when he found himself banging his head on the Cabinet table last week when the Cabinet was discussing Heathrow.
Legg had been invited onto the Mayo programme as a former Chief Executive of the Party, albeit for only a few weeks back in 2003. In some ways it was encouraging that they were reduced to choosing him, as it meant there were no leading figures prepared to put the anti-Ken argument over the airwaves. A few years ago, there would have been a queue at the studio door.
Anyway, if you want to listen to ten minutes of me and Barry Leggosaurus slugging it out, then click HERE. Scroll in 38 minutes. Enjoy. Or not.