Jack Straw looked acutely uncomfortable. He was standing in the doorway of his tall Victorian house in Islington's Battledean Road, scruffy on the outside, plush inside. He was casually dressed in sandals and cords, saying he had hoped for a quiet evening. It was May 1976, and his visitors were Roger Courtiour and myself, both BBC journalists. He ushered us to his upstairs front room. We sat. He stood.
Mr Straw began by lying. 'I know nothing of a missing file,' he said.
Surely he knew of the missing DHSS file belonging to Norman Scott, the gay lover of Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe? Mr Straw changed tack. 'I cannot say anything because of the Official Secrets Act.'
Hang on, we said. We knew that Barbara Castle had spoken to him about this file a few days ago.