Brown Dodges Answering for the Sithat Last Treasury Questions

Today was the last Treasury Questions ever for Gordon Brown, Stephen Timms, Treasury Chief Secretary, was also fielding questions. David Jones, the Shadow Welsh minister, took the opportunity to ask a question about the Smith Institute. He blogs that it is

“the registered charity that appears to have virtually set up headquarters in 11 Downing Street… Surprisingly – or not, whichever way you care to look at it – Gordon didn’t answer himself. He left it to his deputy, Stephen Timms, Financial Secretary to the Treasury. I suggested that it was odd that No. 11’s householder was apparently unwilling to answer to the House over his domestic arrangements. Timms is a nice, straightforward man and seemed uncomfortable to be asked the question, so he simply didn’t answer it. And so we say farewell to Chancellor Brown. Next time he is at the despatch box he will be Prime Minister. But I doubt that he has heard the last of the Smith affair.”

You can bet on that…

Later Mark Hoban demanded to know about the Treasury paying £11,000 to the Smith Institute before – two years later – it was noticed and “rectified”. “Will he confirm that all payments have been declared?” Timms evasively replied that “the Treasury paid for the Christmas tree at the children’s party this year at the Treasury”.

Classic stonewalling, but this is not going to go away just because the Sith refuse to answer questions. The Guido initiated Charity Commission investigation is a statutory process, subject to judicial review. It won’t be easy to sweep things under the carpet.




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Boris Johnson was shown a trophy monkey head as he toured a room of illegally-poached animals seized by Scotland Yard. He said:

“What’s this poor chap here? Faint air of a … Labour backbencher.”

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