David Blackburn

Not a day to be a Pratt

Not a day to be a Pratt
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The unfortunately named Christine Pratt, her husband and the National Bullying Helpline have been completely demolished by one of the most well co-ordinated spin operations I can recall. The charity’s accounts bear no examination. Two Patrons, Cary Cooper and Mary O’Connor, have resigned – disgusted that Pratt broke the charity’s commitment to confidentiality, as indeed was Ann Widdecombe. The Charities Commission have been called in. She’s flip-flopped on her original claims at least twice: initially suggesting that Gordon Brown was a bully, then insisting he wasn’t and then recalling that he possibly might have been. Plainly, her memory of who calls her and what they say is as leaky as a philandering footballer’s. On top of that, Peter Mandelson hinted that Pratt is politically motivated and rescinded his department’s recommendation of her charity, whilst also suggesting at financial irregularities between charity, husband and wife.  

The Tories should escape unscathed unless it is established that they prompted Pratt's sudden candour, which has proved spectacularly unreliable. It was very premature to say that Labour’s spin machine was a rusting hulk: it’s almost like old times. As I wrote earlier, the coherent response has masked the central issues, and opposition parties would be unwise to wade in. Guido asked mischievously where Alastair Campbell was this morning; my hunch would be that he was masterminding the whole operation.

PS: And now there's a third Patron to have resigned: Sarah Cawood.