It seems Michael Dugher is Labour’s attack dog in chief. The blunt speaking, gum-chewing Yorkshireman who used to spin for Gordon Brown, is in charge of the party’s day-to-day fight with the Tories it appears.
Yet Dugher’s early attempts to land blows aren’t exactly connecting. A series of questions he posed to Eric Pickles’ Department for Communities and Local Government did expose wasteful spending – but by the previous Labour Government.
Dugher asked how much the department spends on ‘premium satellite television channels’. Brandon Lewis, a Minister there, replied that it didn’t subscribe to any. But the last administration ‘spent £5,594 on premium Sky channels’.
Dugher’s question about flatscreen televisions didn’t fare any better. The department hasn’t purchased any for 24 months, Lewis revealed, but ‘the previous Administration spent £22,527 on four flatscreen televisions’.
Perhaps, most embarrassing of all was his attempt to catch Pickles out over how much the department spends on Christmas cards.
If Dugher’s team had done their homework, they would have known that DCLG Ministers have been boasting for more than two years that they send their cards electronically.