Saturday, May 23, 2009

Another embarrassing question for Andrew MacKay

Exciting scenes in Bracknell last night. Mr Wiggy Andrew MacKay appeared on BBC News 24 after his public meeting. He told BBC South's political correspondent, Peter Henley, that three-quarters of the hall applauded positive points about him (MacKay) and that only one quarter of the hall applauded negative points about him. At that point in the interview (see below), a gentleman interupted to accuse Mr MacKay of "misrepresenting" the mood of the meeting.

Indeed, Peter Henley said that Mr MacKay was heckled throughout, mainly with shouts of "Resign" and "Give it back". The Independent have an excellent report of the meeting here.

One interesting point about this issue emerged, rather bizarrely, on Have I got News for you last night. They played a clip from 2007 when Julie Kirkbride, Andrew MacKay's wife, was confronted by an interviewer on BBC Hereford and Worcester. The interviewer stated that she and her husband claimed two second home allowances and then said "I would have thought the old phrase 'two can live as cheaply as one' would apply here - but obviously it doesn't". At that Kirkbride promptly slammed the phone down.

But the interesting thing about that is this. Andrew MacKay said that he only realised that his and his wife's arrangement was "unreasonable" last week when he went before the Tories' own scrutiny panel. He said he therefore resigned as Cameron's aide the day after. But it is clear from the clip on HIGNFY that the arrangement was very much in the open three years ago. So why did it take Andrew MacKay so long to realise that it was "unreasonable"? It's certainly not the case, as he seems to infer, that this arrangement was pointed out to him last week and suddenly he realised it was wrong. It was, at least, pointed out to his wife by a local radio station two years ago.

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