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Sunday 7th October 2012 | 10:23
There are lots of reasons to love Peter Mannion in The Thick of It. As well as his penchant for the odd Twix bar, many of us rejoice in his hangdog impatience with the blue sky thinkers, image-obssessed spin doctors - and nervy civil servants.
Several ministers currently vie for the title of the most Mannion-esque, with heavy smoker Simon Burns a clear front runner.
But here's a tale that suggests Owen Paterson is bringing a new, Mannion candour to Defra.
A source tells me that when the newly appointed Secrtary of State arrived at DEFRA, the first thing his civil servants did was gather round and try to reassure him they could correct some, ahem, inaccuracies in the media.
One insider says Pateron's new staff clucked round him to suggest he may want to clear up the wild stories about him being a climate change sceptic and - just as tricky - claims that he was gung-ho about culling badgers.
Imagine their surprise when the new minister said: "No, the stories are all correct."
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