'PH: The damaging incident of course was the Duffygate incident.
AN: In Rochdale, the old aged pensioner?
PH: In Rochdale, and that had a palpable effect. I think we were just beginning to get a bit of traction - not necessarily to win but possibly to be the biggest party in the election - and that was a real hammer blow, and everybody knew it.
AN: You really think that affected the public’s perception of the then Prime Minister?
PH: I do, because I think people had started, not necessary to warm to Gordon but to recognise him for what he is. He is a formidable leader and a formidable prime minister, whether they liked him or not, and that sort of called back into everybody’s minds all the things that they had felt negative about him, and as he’s readily conceded, it was a really bad incident for us - and you could feel it, on the doorstep, it came up just at a time when we were beginning to turn the tide, as I say, not to go storming to victory but to be the biggest party, in which case things could have been very different.'
Of more interest is Hain's disclosure that the Labour Lib Dem coalition talks broke down because the Lib Dems wanted to start cutting now. This lends credence to the idea that the Lib Dems opened non-serious talks with Labour to extract more from the Tories: the Liberals must have known that a 'cuts now' line could never work with Brown and Balls.
Straight Talk will be shown on the BBC NEWS CHANNEL on Saturday 12th June 2010 @ 01:30 hrs, 04:30hrs, 14:30hrs and 23:30hrs; Sunday 13th June 2010 @ 01:30hrs and 23:30hrs and Tuesday 15th June 2010 @ 03:30hrs