Tag Archives: skew

Exposed: The distortions that made anti-Semitism smears possible

Marc Wadsworth (left), introducing the family of Stephen Lawrence to Nelson Mandela.

A great deal of attention has been given on the social media recently (although not the mainstream media, you notice) to the report by the Media Reform Coalition and Birkbeck on the mainstream media’s coverage of allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

It found that there have been “prevalent errors, omissions and skews in the mainstream coverage”, and much of the reporting of it has focused on this headline.

This Writer found much of interest in the case studies, also – especially that which focused on Marc Wadsworth.

Mr Wadsworth has been in the news again recently, after he spoke in favour of Kerry-Anne Mendoza giving the Claudia Jones memorial lecture in his capacity as chair of the National Union of Journalists’ Black Members Council. His comments attracted the enmity of commentators of a certain political leaning, who referred critically to the incident at the launch of the Chakrabarti Report that led to accusations of anti-Semitism against him.

The MRC/Birkbeck report has this to say about it: “The immediate availability of a video recording of the incident offered a useful basis on which to assess the degree to which the activist, Mark Wadsworth, was accurately quoted in reports. Again, this reflects a common theme in much of the related coverage where contentious or controversial statements are paraphrased in reports in ways that can potentially distort their original context or meaning.

“Wadsworth accused Ruth Smeeth, a Jewish MP who had been critical of Corbyn on a range of issues (and especially antisemitism), of “working in hand in hand” with the Daily Telegraph. Given the immediate focus of the event, this was immediately interpreted by some as a veiled antisemitic attack, drawing on a racial stereotype of Jews controlling the media.

“On the face of it, however, Wadsworth’s comments seemed to reflect a widely-held concern amongst Labour members that centrist or right-wing MPs were ‘plotting’ to oust the elected leader of the party, and that this extended to collaboration with some of the Tory-supporting press. As it turned out, these concerns were well-founded as the event was swiftly followed by a wave of shadow cabinet resignations that was at least partly orchestrated with the media, including the BBC.

“Of crucial significance here was Wadsworth’s reference to an interaction he witnessed between Smeeth and a single reporter from a single newspaper. There was nothing in his original comment that either explicitly or implicitly generalized this interaction into a broader accusation of working with the right-wing press or media at large. Indeed, he was subsequently caught on camera having a private exchange with Jeremy Corbyn stating that he ‘outed’ Smeeth for “working with the
‘Torygraph’”. This would seem to support the view that Wadsworth’s charge was not one of collaborating or conspiring with the press in general.

“Yet this is precisely how Wadsworth was indirectly quoted in 13 out of 35 reports. At its most benign, such paraphrasing adopted words such as “colluding with the right-wing press” without any qualification… And at the extreme end of the spectrum Wadsworth was reported in the Sun as accusing Smeeth of being part of a “Jewish media conspiracy” and in a separate article, simply “attacking her for being Jewish”.”

The report added: “It would appear that several journalists had taken cues from Smeeth herself who, in a formal response, had alleged that Wadsworth used traditional antisemitic slurs to attack her “for being part of a ‘media conspiracy’”. In spite of the seriousness of the allegation, nearly half of the reports in the sample (15 out of 33) either quoted Smeeth directly or referred to her allegations without mentioning Wadsworth’s denial. This was a clear subversion of the journalistic principle of offering a right of reply to those who face reputational damage from an allegation of harm.

This was all the more perplexing given that journalists did not have to rely on second hand accounts of what was said at the meeting. Many were in attendance of  the launch which was also streamed live and the video footage – including the recorded interaction between Wadsworth and Smeeth – was easily and immediately accessible.”

The conclusion was: “Underlying the evidence presented here was a persistent subversion of conventional news values…  Journalists covering the launch of Labour’s antisemitism report in 2016 routinely misquoted Mark Wadsworth in ways that invoked a notion of media conspiracy that was entirely absent from his original statement, in spite of the fact that a video recording of the event was readily and immediately accessible.”

I know from personal experience that the treatment of Marc Wadsworth was not a solitary case. Gabriel Pogrund’s Sunday Times article alleging that I was a Holocaust denier relied entirely on a ‘leaked’ report from Labour’s NEC which itself was based on allegations by the Campaign Against Antisemitism. My own original words were publicly available – and had been for more than a year, at the time his report was published.

Whilst I was contacted by Mr Pogrund prior to publication of his story, he did not give me a right of reply on the claims he made.

It is clear that this “persistent subversion of conventional news values” has become standard practice in mainstream media coverage of allegations of anti-Semitism against members of the Labour Party.

In light of the facts highlighted by the report, it seems clear that Labour’s National Constitutional Committee, which examines allegations against members, needs to revisit the case of Mr Wadsworth – and reconsider whether it should continue with the cases against myself and others who have suffered similar accusations.

And then the Labour leadership would be well-advised to consider suing the press outlets mentioned in the report, not only for wasting all our time but for libelling the party as a whole.

It is these so-called newspapers that have brought the Labour Party into disrepute, and not the members whose names they have dragged through the mud.

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


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Lie after lie over sanctions and FoI: Duncan Smith’s head should roll

The inhumanity of Iain Duncan Smith: He is pictured laughing at the plight of a rape victim who, under his 'reforms', has to pay bedroom tax for the panic room she needs in order to be safe from her abusive, rapist ex-partner.

The inhumanity of Iain Duncan Smith: He is pictured laughing at the plight of a rape victim who, under his ‘reforms’, has to pay bedroom tax for the panic room she needs in order to be safe from her abusive, rapist ex-partner.

Iain Duncan Smith must resign after he disgraced himself yet again, with a leaflet containing fabricated comments from non-existent DWP benefit claimants, according to a leading Opposition MP.

Debbie Abrahams, who has been a leading light in the fight to force the Conservative Government to reveal the true number of people who have died following Duncan Smith’s “welfare reforms”, said the Work and Pensions secretary’s behaviour was a “disgrace” and his position was untenable.

But don’t take This Writer’s word for it – here’s Ms Abrahams herself (all boldings mine):

“As a member of the work and pensions select committee, I have called for Iain Duncan Smith to resign following revelations that his department created a leaflet about sanctions containing made-up quotes attributed to non-existent benefit claimants.

“I instigated an inquiry into the use of sanctions by the work and pensions committee, which reported in March this year, and I believe after being caught out so publicly it must be impossible for Iain Duncan Smith to continue as work and pensions secretary and he should do the honourable thing and resign.

“This is yet another example of not only his incompetence, but what can only be described as very shady and unscrupulous behaviour not befitting a Member of Parliament let alone a Secretary of State leading a Government Department.

“Once again, Duncan Smith is caught trying to paint a particular picture of social security claimants. He is a disgrace and should do the honourable thing and resign. When his own department have to resort to this sort of tactic, in a desperate attempt to make it appear as though the system is working, no-one can be left believing that his draconian social security sanctions regime is fit for purpose.

“Only Mr Duncan Smith seems to believe that unfair and inappropriate use of sanctions on vulnerable social security claimants is acceptable. And now he’s shown that he thinks it’s acceptable for his department to produce literature that is fabricated in a desperate attempt to make people believe his sanctions regime is working fairly.

“It beggars belief that David Cameron can, in the light of this embarrassing debacle, continue to back Mr Duncan Smith as a credible work and pensions secretary when he has presided over such a catalogue of errors.

“In the last few weeks alone, the independent Social Security Advisory Committee has produced a report which says that the Government’s sanctions regime should be given ‘an urgent and robust review’.

“And following the Government’s appeal against the Information Commissioner’s ruling compelling the Government to publish figures on the number of people on Incapacity Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance who have died between November 2011 and May 2014, including those found fit for work, a Tribunal has now been set for November 10 to hear why Iain Duncan Smith has refused to publish these data.

“I will never forget the fact that not only did Iain Duncan Smith defy the Information Commissioner’s ruling to provide these data on deaths of people on social security, but that he stated to me, personally, in Parliament, it did not exist. But then, just two days later, the Prime Minister said to me, again in Parliament, the data would be published, only for the DWP’s appeal documents to defy him as well, stating publication was not in the public interest!

“The select committee inquiry which I instigated reported in March and the mountain of evidence that was put before the select committee by religious organisations, academics and charities, not to mention those actually affected by inappropriate sanctions themselves, pointed overwhelmingly to a system that is inhumane and deliberately created to skew unemployment figures.

“The sad truth is that Iain Duncan Smith is doing everything he can to cover up the mess he has created.

“This is a mess that is ruining innocent people’s lives and, as the evidence suggests, even killing some.

“The only credible reason he’s going to such lengths to hang on to his job is because he knows he has so much to hide.”

A petition on the Government website, calling for a vote of “no confidence” in Iain Duncan Smith and his removal from office, may be signed here.

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Is Harman trying to skew the Labour leadership contest, with her bias against Corbyn?

Harriet Harman seems to have misunderstood part of her own offer to members of the public.

Labour – under her – has offered people a chance to register as ‘supporters’ of the party, in order to have a vote in the leadership election.

Jeremy Corbyn has huge support amongst the electorate and it follows that more people will be signing up to support him than the other candidates, whose supporters are more likely to be party members/supporters already.

That’s not “trying to skew” anything – that’s democracy!

If anybody is “trying to skew” the leadership election, it seems that person is Harriet Harman.

Labour MPs should write back, telling her to mind her own bloody business.

Harriet Harman has written to all Labour MPs asking them to check new members are not trying to skew the party’s leadership contest.

Each MP has been sent a list of new members from their constituency so they can check for suspicious names.

It follows claims, denied by the party, of non Labour supporters signing up to back left-wing candidate Jeremy Corbyn.

Source: Labour leadership: Harriet Harman warns MPs over new members – BBC News

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ESA audio recordings: Did Hoban answer and does it matter either way?

Audio anywhere: This image proves that Atos assessors can use their own laptop computers to create audio recordings of work capability assessments. They can then use onboard software to burn a CD of the interview and hand it to claimants on the spot. What's the problem?

Audio anywhere: This image proves that Atos assessors can use their own laptop computers to create audio recordings of work capability assessments. They can then use onboard software to burn a CD of the interview and hand it to claimants on the spot. What’s the problem?

He did – and some of the responses were actually encouraging. Most were questionable – meaning, it seems, the government will continuing trying to obstruct attempts to make the assessment process more open.

Those of you who read yesterday’s article will know that the adjournment debate in the House of Commons yesterday was about the audio recording of work capability assessments, which are made as part of the claim process for Employment and Support Allowance.

The government has claimed that, when the service was offered in a pilot scheme, too few people requested it, and only one per cent of them wanted a copy of the recording that was made – but Sheila Gilmore MP, in her speech, pointed out that Atos, the company running the hated assessments, said enough requests had been made to make it desirable. She also pointed out that the procedure for getting a personal copy of the recording was extremely bureaucratic and off-putting.

She asked five questions about the issue and, in an unusual but welcome move, ensured that employment minister Mark Hoban had advance notice of them, thereby offering him no excuse for failure to answer.

In the main, he did. But… well, you’ll see.

Hoban prefaced his responses by affirming that the DWP considers the issue to be important, something that “we must get it right. It accords firmly with our commitment to improving the WCA process continuously”.

But he said: “While we accept that there has been an increase in demand for its use, we must be sure that we understand the evidence base, including that relating to the value to claimants… The evidence needs to be balanced against potential costs, and that is the process in which my officials are currently engaged.”

We’ll go into those extra costs in a moment, but the comment begs an obvious question: Wouldn’t the extra cost be offset by the savings made by having fewer ESA appeal tribunals?

Later he confirmed that a claimant has no legal right to an audio-recorded assessment, and neither the DWP nor Atos Healthcare has a legal obligation to provide an audio-recording service or equipment. “The unavailability of audio recording facilities does not mean that the WCA process can be delayed indefinitely. That could slow down the process unnecessarily.” But he added that, since the introduction of audio recording, only nine requests have been refused owing to the unavailability of equipment.

He said (but the statement is disputable): “All those having face-to-face assessments have been able to request that their sessions be recorded… Claimants can ask for their assessments to be recorded, either by means of the service offered by the Department for Work and Pensions and Atos Healthcare or through the use of their own recording equipment. Requests for an audio recording, whether through the use of Atos Healthcare’s equipment or through the use of equipment provided by a claimant, must be made in advance when a face-to-face assessment is arranged. The purpose of that is to provide adequate notice so that recording equipment can be made available and ready for use.”

This is not what I have found. Long-term readers will know that my partner, the long-suffering Mrs Mike, suffers from a long-term ailment and has undergone the work capability assessment. It took place in early July last year – remember the date. I went with her.

We were not informed of the procedure for requesting audio recordings in any way. I went along with my dictaphone, but when we announced our intention to use it, we were told that would not be acceptable and the assessment would not take place if we insisted on this condition.

Therefore it occurs to me (admittedly from anecdotal evidence) that Hoban’s figures must be skewed. How many claimants found themselves in the same position when they arrived for interview – ready to record – only to have the carpet pulled out from under them? For a disabled person, the only option then is to continue with the assessment because – for many of them, it is a very difficult and painful process simply to reach an assessment centre.

Let’s look at the questions. The first was this: Will the Minister now accept that the number of claimants requesting a copy of their recording is not an accurate reflection of demand, and that the number of people acquiescing to their assessment being recorded is a more appropriate metric to use?

Hoban’s response: “I do not think that it was that difficult to get hold of a copy. The recording might need to be held on a handheld device before it is transferred to a computer and a transcript is printed, but that does not stop people asking for a copy. I thought that was one point in the hon. Lady’s thoughtful speech that was not well substantiated.”

This is inaccurate. For those who have never attended a work capability assessment, the Atos assessors complete them using laptop computers – because the assessment is a tick-box test that demands simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Laptops generally come with not only audio recording but also CD burning programs as part of the package, and even if they don’t, freeware recording software is widely available and CD-burning software is also available, if not for free, then for a reasonable price. If the onboard microphones aren’t adequate to the task, it is possible to buy them very cheaply – especially if buying in bulk.

In short, it should be entirely possible to record every single assessment at a reasonably high quality, burn it onto CD and hand it to claimants on the spot. For example, I have an audio copy of yesterday evening’s debate which I can burn off and hand to anybody who wants it for reference. There is no justification for the bureaucratic process through which the DWP currently demands claimants to navigate, which is – as Ms Gilmore noted – off-putting.

Hoban continued: “The results also provided little evidence that audio recording of face-to-face assessments improved the quality of assessments. There was only limited evidence of improvement in the customer experience for some individuals.”

SOME individuals? We must question these ministers’ use of language and that word is telling.

“Of those who took part, fewer than half the claimants thought that audio recording would be helpful to them.”

How were they to know? Did they expect to have to go to appeal and use it to persuade a tribunal? Were they even made aware that this could happen?

“Those are the key areas that Professor Harrington wanted to understand when he called for the original pilot. As a result the Department decided not to introduce audio recording of face-to-face assessments universally on the basis that a facility for all assessments would be extremely costly, with no apparent substantial benefit or improvement in the quality of assessments.”

Not true.

“Since the introduction of a limited audio recording facility in September 2011, fewer than 4,000 claimants have requested a recorded assessment. To date, Atos has conducted more than 2,000 audio-recorded assessments.”

So almost half those who requested a recording were refused it, despite that fact that using laptops to record assessments is cheap and easy?

“During that period almost 1.5 million face-to-face assessments for both ESA and incapacity benefit reassessments have been completed. Therefore, the proportion of recorded assessments is less than 0.2% of all assessments carried out during the period. We need to continue to monitor that take-up, but universal recording for such low numbers does not seem prudent and might not provide value for money.”

Not (provably) true.

We move on to the second question. I give you advance warning that the reply is scandalous: Can the Minister confirm whether any official DWP communications inform claimants that they can have their assessment recorded?

His response was to say that the DWP has recently provided more information about the audio-recording facility on the ‘Inside Government’ section of the gov.uk website. recently? Two years after the option was made available?

And he said: “I am pleased to say that we are … taking steps to boost awareness of audio recording. The Department and Atos are in the process of amending written communications to claimants by updating the WCA AL1C form. The document is sent to claimants when they need to arrange a face-to-face assessment and will provide more information on how to arrange an audio-recorded assessment. We expect the revised form to be sent out to claimants by the end of next month, once the necessary changes have been made and the form has been cleared for use.”

Sheila Gilmore rightly took issue with this, demanding: “Perhaps the Minister might be able to explain why it has taken nearly two years to make that amendment?”

Even if he was, he didn’t.

She also raised the issue of timing, which the DWP frequently uses to skew its statistics: “If I understood him correctly, he said that the evaluation of all this process was being extended to the end of the summer, so if the revised letter is not going out until the end of this month or the end of next month, there will be very little time to judge whether that has made any difference.”

Absolutely correct. This is how the DWP produces many of the figures it uses to hoodwink Parliament and the general public. If a procedure has been available for 24 months, but official documentation has publicised that to claimants for just two or three months, then the results are unreliable.

You will, undoubtedly, be on tenterhooks to know what Hoban had to say about this.

He said nothing.

Question three: Can he indicate how many audio recording devices Atos now have access to?

Yes he can. The total is a staggering 31 audio recording machines, three of which are currently being repaired – so 28 functioning machines. Atos also has access to 21 cassette machines which are on loan from the DWP.

“We constantly monitor the updating of audio recording assessments to ensure that the supply of the equipment meets demand,” said Hoban. Utterly ridiculous, for the reasons already outlined.

Question four: Can he confirm that what few recordings currently occur are part of a wider rollout or a mere further pilot?

This was the question he did not answer.

Finally: Will he accept Professor Harrington’s call for more work to be done on this? And will he rerun the pilot using the level of successful appeals as the key metric in determining whether or not audio recordings improve the quality of assessments?

It seems that he did! “we have decided to extend the evaluation period until the end of the summer to allow us to gather additional data on quality and potential take-up for a subsequent robust decision on any potential future audio-recording provision.

“We now have a benchmark for current take-up but, as has been rightly pointed out, we cannot get a true comparison until we routinely let people know about its availability.”

So what are we to make of these responses?

They’re a mixed bag. There is no excuse for failure to make recordings and hand them over to claimants on the day – that is glaringly obvious and the most scandalous part of this affair. Thanks to computer technology, it is cheap, easy and available. Considering the size of the DWP and the number of assessors employed by Atos, it is inconceivable that nobody was aware of this and therefore we must conclude that the failure to offer the service is an attempt to obstruct transparency by the DWP and its ministers.

There is also no excuse for the almost-two-year delay in revising DWP correspondence to make it clear that audio recording is available to anybody who wants to request it. In fact, because it should be possible to use assessors’ laptops to make those recordings, it is entirely possible to argue that they should offer it verbally at the start of the assessment procedure.

The extension of the evaluation period is to be welcomed – but the brevity of the extension is to be lamented and the “benchmark” data being used to judge the evaluation are entirely questionable.

As ever, with this Coalition government, any dialogue over its procedures is a war of attrition. This issue is not buried yet, and the debate was useful in teasing out the details.

The best we can say for the moment is that this is TO BE CONTINUED…

Nowhere to hide, Mr Hoban: With advance notice of questions there’s no excuse for failure to answer

Now get out of that: Mark Hoban has been challenged to come clean with the facts. If he does, he'll be the first DWP minister to do so since Labour left office.

Now get out of that: Mark Hoban has been challenged to come clean with the facts. If he does, he’ll be the first DWP minister to do so since Labour left office.

Let’s get something straight from the outset: By Parliamentary convention, if a government minister lies to MPs – or is found to have told falsehoods and does not then correct the inaccuracies, that is a resignation matter.

Until the current Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition came into power, this convention was observed by all parties. The fact that the current administration – which, let’s remember, did not win any elections to get into office – does not observe this convention is yet another indication that it is an outlaw government.

Iain Duncan Smith is a classic case of the Coalition attitude. He has told so many porkies to Parliament and the public that he is to be dragged before the Commons Work and Pensions committee to account for them. The trouble is, even if he is forced to admit knowingly misleading us all, there is no reason to expect him to do the decent thing and fall on his sword. He’ll damn our impertinence for having the cheek to question him.

Probably the best way forward with him would be for the Work and Pensions committee to take his case to the Speaker of the House of Commons, and the committee on Standards and Privileges, as this seems to be the correct route to take, in order to expel an MP.* If he won’t go willingly, he’ll have to be pushed.

Of course Mr… Smith might decide to claim he cannot answer some of the more involved questions, if he hasn’t had prior notice of them; he could say he hasn’t been able to put the facts together. Then, instead of admitting he is dishonest, he’ll just be admitting incompetence. No Coalition minister has yet been sacked for that.

One of his fellows who’ll have no such excuse is Mark Hoban, due to face questioning by Sheila Gilmore MP – who also sits on the Work and Pensions committee – in an adjournment debate on the audio recording of Atos work capability assessments at 7pm today (Wednesday, June 12).

Why not? Because she has sent him advance notice of all the questions she will be asking, in her speech, which she has published here for everyone to see.

Firstly, she attacks the government’s assertion – made by Hoban’s fellow truth-bender Chris Grayling, when he was in Hoban’s job – that there is a lack of demand for audio recording of assessments. He said a pilot scheme to test whether audio recording assessments improved their quality had produced a negative result: “We decided not to implement universal recording because, based on the trial experience, people did not want it.”

This is – to nobody’s surprise – untrue.

The Atos pilot concluded, “68% of customers agreed to the recording when contacted by telephone prior to the appointment.”

This total dropped to 46 per cent due to some claimants not taking the assessment. This is most likely caused by the phenomenon of ‘churn’, as discussed on this blog, and others, in previous articles – a fairly consistent number of claimants stop their claim before taking the assessment because they either get better, find a job that can accommodate their disability, or die.

As far as Atos were concerned, the result was beyond doubt: “Our recommendation would be that recording should become routine as it is in a call centre or for example – NHS direct.”

This is the recommendation of the company running the much-criticised assessment scheme, remember. Even Atos wants better accountability and an improved quality of assessment that this may bring.

Ms Gilmore goes on to attack the government’s claim that the number of claimants requesting a copy of their recording is just one per cent. This cannot be regarded as an accurate assessment of the number who would like a copy, for two reasons, she tells us.

Firstly, the assessors used handheld devices to make their recordings, meaning they would have to be transferred to computer and burnt to CD afterwards, preventing claimants from taking recordings away with them on the day. Instead they had to make a further request – in writing. “Unsurprisingly this suppressed uptake,” Ms Gilmore’s speech states.

Secondly, claimants were warned off applying for copies by assessors who told them recordings would only be useful to them if they appealed. The report that stated only one per cent of claimants persisted in their request was completed only days after the pilot study ended, meaning most of those involved had not received a decision on their claim and therefore did not know whether they needed to appeal. Demand may well have been higher, had the measurement been taken after a reasonable time.

This is just one example of the DWP timing processes in order to get its way. We’ll return to that topic in a moment.

Chris Grayling also stated that the DWP would offer “everyone who wants it” the opportunity to have their assessment recorded. In practice, this seems an empty promise, as Atos had around 50 audio recording machines on May 22 this year, but undertakes more than 11,000 assessments every week.

Also, the option to request recordings is not offered in any official DWP communications to claimants. As Arthur Dent points out in The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it’s not like they’ve gone out of their way, “like actually telling anyone or anything!”

What we’re seeing is a series of attempts to distort information and skew the facts, to create a story that supports DWP ministers’ intentions, rather than the evidence. That’s bad for the country, because it means decisions are taken on the basis of fantasy, diverting attention and effort away from where it is needed.

“Today I have taken the unusual step of emailing a copy of my speech for an upcoming debate to Mark Hoban, the Minister due to speak for the Government,” said Ms Gilmore. “Now he can have no excuse for not answering the important questions I intend to put to him…. I want to ensure the Minister can’t ignore these points, and that’s why I’ve take this action today.”

Whatever happens this evening, it seems unlikely that anything can be done about the DWP’s latest misuse of statistics – actually withholding performance data about the Work Programme (as reported previously in Vox Political) and the Youth Contract until the day after the government’s comprehensive spending review.

This means decisions are likely to be made on ministers’ recommendations, rather than on the basis of fact – and we now know that we cannot trust those recommendations at all.

The Telegraph, reporting the delay, stated that the figures – when they arrive – “are expected to be very disappointing.

“It is hardly unreasonable to say that the Government would sooner Labour did not have these to throw at it when George Osborne gives details of the Comprehensive Spending Review in Parliament on June 26.”

Columnist Tim Wigmore concludes – and this is in the Torygraph, remember: “The Government only has itself to blame if it’s getting harder to give it the benefit of the doubt.”

That time is long gone.

There must be no dishonesty in Parliament.

If Mark Hoban fails to give full and frank answers to the questions Sheila Gilmore has put to him, but resorts to distortions of the figures or outright falsehoods, then he must be expelled from his job, not just as a minister but as an MP.

That goes for his boss, Iain Duncan Smith. It goes for Grant Shapps, Michael Gove (mentioned in the Telegraph article) and, above all, it also goes for David Cameron.

Liars all.

*If any MP is reading this and able to provide details of the correct procedure, please get in touch.