James Forsyth

Minor indiscretions

Minor indiscretions
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The Telegraph’s latest Lib Dem revelations are embarrassing for the ministers concerned, but won’t cause the coalition much trouble. Ed Davey is caught being critical of the announcement to take child benefit away from higher-rate taxpayers and expressing concerns about the changes to housing benefit. Michael Moore, the Scottish Secretary, is captured expressing regret about the Lib Dem u-turn on tuition fees and saying he couldn’t work with Tories like Liam Fox "for very long." Steve Webb, the highly numerate pensions minister, was trapped into revealing that he had written to the Chancellor about the child benefit changes because "the details aren’t right."

There are, the Telegraph tells us, more of these revelations to come. One fascinating thing to watch will be how the coalition responds to the Telegraph’s work. Sending out reporters to pose as constituents and lure MPs into indiscretions is not usual journalistic practice. If any paper had done this to New Labour in its first term, the paper would have paid a high price in terms of cooperation from the government.