One of Jack Straw’s jobs as Leader of the House is to pitch up and answer questions from Lobby hacks at the afternoon briefing. The Daily’s eye was drawn to this exchange about the meeting of the Trade Union Group of MPs earlier this week:
“It was a fraternal meeting,” he said.
A Lobby correspondent said that he had heard that there had been blood over the walls.
Mr Straw replied, “Yes – it was a fraternal meeting. This is a set position if you are a Labour MP. You spend your life advancing the cause of socialism and as soon as you get close to doing that, you are accused of doing a sell-out by the people who put you there. That is how it works. It goes with the territory. This has been said, by the way, with some levity – ever since I was a teenager and was able to spot a Trot at 50 yards – and with those bastards I am pleased to plead guilty.”