'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Andrew Mitchell isn't David Cameron's problem. Grant Shapps could be.

Now, Andrew Mitchell certainly is a problem. Whatever he said to those police officers on Wednesday night was clearly wrong - he's acknowledged that himself with his apology. And he may well end up resigning - ideally before the end of conference so I win my bet with Charlotte Henry.

But Andrew Mitchell isn't really David Cameron's problem, in the sense that what has happened can't be blamed at the 'poor judgement' door of the PM. Mitchell flew off the handle at the wrong time with the wrong people, and got caught. If he has then tried to cover up his wrongdoing, then (as usual) it will be the cover up that will get him. But I don't think you can blame the PM for that.

The Grant Shapps story however could turn out to be different kettle of fish.

Now the whole Grant Shapps story is weird. Leading a 'double life' as web entrepeneur Michael Green, even when he was a member of the shadow cabinet, requires quite a lot of explaining. The Guardian even has a photo of him today with a Michael Green name badge at some internet conference in the US.

Now there's no suggestion Shapps has done anything wrong, let alone illegal. But the oddness of a prominent politician leading a double life does raise all sorts of questions about why we felt he needed to conduct all of this activity under a pseudonym.

But this news hasn't emerged since Shapps was made Party Chairman. It broke before the reshuffle. And Cameron went ahead anyway.

So if the Shapps story does start to go pear shaped, questions will be asked about Cameron's judgement.

And I imagine the PM finds that more troubling than the news that his Chief Whip is a man who struggles to control his temper.


Good summary of the Shapps saga from the New Statesman here

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