Government’s Media Round Silence Creates Anti-Zahawi Void

When The Mirror revealed the government was to reduce the number of ministerial appearances on the morning media round, senior government sources were quick to insist to Guido that it isn’t an anti-accountability move, and they’ll still send spokespeople out when there’s a story to “talk about or defend”. Today is the second day this week that the government have refused to offer anyone up for the media round…

While there’s obviously a lot to defend, the government could conceivably claim they have nothing to announce. Unfortunately, Guido’s seen the government grid for this week, and there’s more than enough government business happening today to justify a media round: there’s a big levelling up speech from Gove, a £30 million investment to decarbonise UK highways, a DWP occupational health innovation fund, and the UK Seafood Fund fleet modernisation scheme.

Instead, the absence of anyone fighting the government’s corner has created a void that’s been filled by Tory Peer Lord Hayward, who’s calling on Nadhim Zahawi to consider his position, and David Gauke predicting that Zahawi will have to resign.

Yesterday we saw Caroline Noakes – admittedly as much a Tory MP these days as David Gauke – call on Zahawi to quit, and the Telegraph has a slew of former anonymous Cabinet members calling on him to go. Avoiding the media en masse only gives the impression of a government running scared…

mdi-timer 25 January 2023 @ 09:01 25 Jan 2023 @ 09:01 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Government’s Meetings Transparency Hits New Low

Guido would have thought that the months-long cronyism row created by the David Cameron-Greensill scandal may have caused the government to improve their attempts at transparency. One source of eternal frustration to hacks is the ministerial release of meetings, which regularly imply some secretaries of state and SpAds enjoy fewer than a dozen meetings per quarter.

The Institute for Government’s Tim Durrant has now started pointing out the laughably slapdash approach taken by key figures when filling out these forms. Recently, Home Office ministers have self-reported as having attended:

Which sound like they run counter to the government’s equalities agenda. 

Other meeting details included one with Laura Kuennsberg, the purpose of which was unsurprisingly “Media Engagement”, and Sadiq Khan, who was met “to discuss London-related policy”Colour Guido surprised…

The lack of attention to detail may have just hit a new low, however. DfT permanent secretary Bernadette Kelly is reported as recently having met “Paul Heathrow” to discuss “operational issues concerning Covid-19″. 

Just one small technical point: there’s no one called Paul Heathrow. Like Tim, Guido presumes the government meant Lord (Paul) Deighton, the non-executive chair of the airport. Either transparency standards are now on the floor, or nominative determinism has gone too far…

mdi-timer 27 July 2021 @ 16:32 27 Jul 2021 @ 16:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments