James Forsyth

The second home row keeps on rolling

The second home row keeps on rolling
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Tony McNulty has been badly damaged by the row over his second home claims. This is a huge blow to the government’s media strategy for the recession. Of all the government’s economic team, McNulty has done the best job of acknowledging the severity of the situation while still defending the government. But if McNulty becomes a poster-child for how the political class work the system, then he’ll become a liability to Labour.

As Minister for Employment, or - as the Yes Minister joke would have it - unemployment, McNulty does the rounds of the TV studios every time the unemployment figures come out. They are, sadly, going to go up and up over the next year or so. Having someone who is seen as emblematic of how politicians feather-bed themselves on every time the numbers come out will hardly be helpful to Labour.

To carry on with the second home theme, do listen to the interview with Jacqui Smith on the Today programme this morning. Her prickliness when the subject came up at the end of the interview suggests that she is not confident she’ll survive the investigation into her conduct.

P.S. Is anyone else surprised that Nigel Griffiths having Ugandan discussions in his Commons office with a woman who is not his wife has not been a bigger story? It seems to have everything the tabloids could possibly want in a scandal but none of them have picked it up with any vigour since the News of the World broke it on Sunday.

Written byJames Forsyth

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

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