Does she think it’ll boost her chances of her survival?
Perhaps the most remarkable feature following yesterday’s decision by the DPP not to prosecute Damien Green has been the reaction of Jacqui Smith and her home office team.
For in spite of everything she seems to be still fighting the case. We saw it in her TV interviews yesterday and there’s a flavour in some of the coverage this morning.
Philip Webster and Francis Elliott write in the Times that..” Home Office sources drew attention to the DPPâ€™s conclusion â€” that a police investigation was â€œinevitableâ€ because of the pattern of the leaks and the damage they were doing. They said that both the DPPâ€™s statement and an imminent internal investigation suggested that Mr Greenâ€™s actions had fallen below those expected of an MP. â€œHeâ€™s not emerged from this whiter than white. His crowing has been premature,â€ they said.
Ms Smith said that she had a responsibility to keep information safe. â€œMy job is to protect the British people. It is also to protect the sensitive information about how we protect them.â€
The problem is that this flies in the face of much of the coverage and, I guess, the public perception. For the story yesterday was not just the DPP decision but the Commons committee report that national security aspects had been exaggerated. What a thing for fellow MPs to be saying about this extraordinary and unprecedented move against an opposition MP?
Smith might believe passionately that she’s right but if she’s to have any chance of holding on she needs to make some gesture towards the criticisms that have been made. Simply continuing in the old mode, refusing even to acknowledge any of what’s been written will, surely, make her position much worse?
On top of that there’s the wider problem for all ministers that the media narrative has turned big time against Labour. If it was bad for the party just a week ago it is a whole lot worse today.
Martin Kettle uses his regular Guardian Friday column to bring everything of the past six days together. He concludes: “…Brown had hoped the success of the G20 would turn his fortunes around. The McBride affair torpedoed that. He now hopes the budget will set Labour on a more confident course. Dirty tricks and MPs’ sleaze stand menacingly in his way. The corrosive events of this week have raised the Labour leadership issue afresh. Today, though, the question is not who shall be leader. It is whether Labour itself can lead. If the answer is no, then perhaps Damian Green was right after all and Labour really has been in power too long.“
That sentence is very much the Cameron approach. Will that chime with voters? The weekend’s polls might give us an indication.