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
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.