PARLIAMENT AND POLITICS: The Sketch - Prescott Spins His Way out of Trouble by Seeing All and Saying Nowt

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MR PRESCOTT had gone to give evidence to a select committee about the Jo Moore thing. He's now head of the Cabinet Office and as such in charge of the affair, insofar as politicians are in charge of anything.

We all went to throw eggs at him; but thought better of it, the closer we came. The Deputy Prime Minister's considerable substance was bulked out by what appeared to be a dozen departmental officials, analysts, advisers, coiffure consultants, dieticians, a speech therapist and two chauffeurs.

Waiting at the public entrance, Mr Prescott's troubled gaze fell on three sketch writers, poor creatures all, sitting on a bench. "You're see-all and say nowt," he said to them ("nowt" is a dialect word meaning a negligible quantity).

"I was referring to the three monkeys," he explained to me. Despite our sudden intimacy, I didn't follow his reasoning. Sketch writers see very little and say a great deal. Perhaps Mr Prescott was conforming to the first rule of politics: Always accuse your opponent of your own most obvious fault. He'd seen all and was saying very close to nothing at all. The fact that the committee let him get away greatly augments his reputation at the expense of theirs. Without wanting to detract from the dignity of Parliament, there are a lot of tosspots on the public administration committee. It's a technical term.

Chairman Tony Wright opened the case for the prosecution. She's a sultana of spin, Jo Moore, we hardly need to go into it. As the towers turned into pyres, you remember, she was urging her masters to seize the day to bury bad news.

Mr Wright denounced her for "gross professional misconduct". Her conduct was forbidden in the code of conduct, and sackable (she's still in her job). …