One of the lenders to the Labour Party in the ongoing "Cash for Peerages" allegations is the co-founder of Capital One Financial Corporation, Nigel Morris. His loan to the Labour Party was a cool million. In November it was reported by the Telegraph that he had refused to comment on the loan as he considered it "confidential".
I raise this because last week, Mark Francois MP (who I'm starting to have ever greater respect for because of his persistent questioning) asked Gordon Brown what "role Mr. Nigel Morris has played in advising his Department since 1997." The answer from the Treasury was, to me at least, intriguing.
John Healey answering simply said, "There is no record of Nigel Morris having advised the Treasury since 1997." Sounds black and white at first, but it looks more like a non-denial denial to me. In fact, it's a classic Parliamentary answers in the way it is uses measured language and ignores the original question.
And let's be honest, Healey hasn't said, "Nigel Morris has never advised the Treasury", he's just said that they don't have an official record of it ever happening. Not, you understand, that I'm suggesting I have evidence that it did happen of course, I'm just saying is all.
For some reason though I now have Sir Humphrey Appleby in my head when he said;
"It is characteristic of all committee discussions and decisions that every member has a vivid recollection of them and that every member's recollection of them differs violently from every other member's recollection. Consequently, we accept the convention that the official decisions are those and only those which have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials, from which it emerges with an elegant inevitability that any decision which has been officially reached will have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials and any decision which is not recorded in the minutes has not been officially reached even if one or more members believe they can recollect it, so in this particular case, if the decision had been officially reached it would have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials, and it isn't so it wasn't."Perhaps I'm reading between the lines too much? But if there is no record of Morris advising the Treasury, and he genuinely didn't advise the Treasury, why not just say so and remove any doubt?