James Forsyth

By being so cheap, Pound devalues himself

By being so cheap, Pound devalues himself
Text settings
Comments

The Daily Mirror is very exercised by the fact that David Cameron has 12 secretaries. It reports that Cameron has “five correspondence secretaries, two diary secretaries, a personal assistant, two private secretaries, one assistant private secretary and an office secretary.”

This is actually a relatively small number when you consider that Cameron doesn’t, unlike the Prime Minister, have a multitude of civil servants working for him. But Stephen Pound, the quote happy Labour MP, has seen fit to join in with the Mirror’s outrage, telling the paper, "Not even the President of the United States needs 12 secretaries.” Now, a quick look at the White House staff list reveals that the President and the First Lady have a 27 strong correspondence unit and 27 people doing scheduling and advance work for them. In other words, Pound’s comment is misleading and ill-informed. (And no, I’m not suggesting that the leader of the opposition needs a staff as big as the President of the United States. All I’m pointing out is how wrong Pound was).

Pound isn’t the only MP — and it isn’t only Labour MPs — who is happy to lend a quote to any story bashing their opponents regardless of its merits. But with the reputation of politics already so low, shouldn’t MPs be a bit more discriminating?

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

Comments
Topics in this articleSociety