LAST CALL: Byers cannot spin way out of demise

Spin has claimed its latest victim: the much-maligned UK transport secretary Stephen Byers, who quit after months of headlines blasting his department's rampant spin-doctoring.

Spin has claimed its latest victim: the much-maligned UK transport secretary Stephen Byers, who quit after months of headlines blasting his department's rampant spin-doctoring.

While he made great inroads into such thorny issues as the minimum wage and the UK's disastrous rail system, he will be remembered chiefly for his media manipulation, exemplified by the confessed "burial of bad news from his department in the media frenzy in the days following September 11. This wasn't helped by his BIMBO-esque announcement in his resignation speech, "I am not a liar."

Byers buried his speech at the start of the two-week recess, giving Prime Minister Tony Blair time to gather his wits before facing parliament again. Those who live by the sword ...

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