Editorial: Watering down the effect of leaks

Parliament has a problem. Speaker Betty Boothroyd this week castigated ministers for leaking information to the media before announcing it in the House. But she may find it is impossible to put the genie back in the bottle. Leaks are an ancient political gambit. And politicians on both sides of the House are well aware of their increased effectiveness in the context of today’s 24-hour news agenda.

Parliament has a problem. Speaker Betty Boothroyd this week

castigated ministers for leaking information to the media before

announcing it in the House. But she may find it is impossible to put the

genie back in the bottle. Leaks are an ancient political gambit. And

politicians on both sides of the House are well aware of their increased

effectiveness in the context of today’s 24-hour news agenda.



But as the Conservatives found to their cost, those who live by the leak

occasionally end up drowning in the stuff. As any PR person knows, the

media are just as likely to bite the hand that briefs as to swallow the

party line. And your political enemies can leak just as effectively as

your friends.



The Speaker should therefore not worry unduly. While Labour enjoys the

easy Parliamentary ride that its huge majority brings, it is also

enjoying a media honeymoon . But it may not be long before ministers

will be less concerned about springing leaks than plugging them.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.