James Forsyth

May’s straight-bat technique

May's straight-bat technique
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Theresa May channeled Chris Tavaré today, every question on this phone tapping scandal was met with a solid defensive answer. She was helped by the number of Labour MPs who overreached — one compared it to Watergate while Dennis Skinner, who is nowhere near the Commons performer he once was, produced an ill-judged demand that Cameron come to the Commons and sack Coulson. Those MPs who were most effective were the ones who kept their cool. The personal testimony of Chris Bryant was particularly powerful.  

Perhaps, the most noteworthy element of the proceedings was how a particularly glum looking Ming Campbell and Simon Hughes kept whispering to each other with concerned expressions on their faces. Neither man appeared to be happy with May’s answers. If either of them spoke up, it would give the story fresh legs. If not, I expect it to die down. The BBC is not ready for the full-on confrontation with the government that would come from giving this story the same prominence tomorrow as it has today.