Heseltine beats PM at office politics

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The Independent Online
Michael Heseltine's new personal office as Deputy Prime Minister is more than twice the size of the Prime Minister's, it was disclosed last night, writes John Rentoul.

Mr Heseltine's room is 872 square feet, while John Major's study in 10 Downing Street "measures approximately 370 sq ft", according to written replies from Mr Major and his deputy to Malcolm Bruce, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman. The information comes amid increasing evidence of a classic Whitehall power struggle, as Mr Heseltine tries to establish the authority of his new role.

Mr Heseltine's personal office is on the third floor of the Cabinet Office at 70 Whitehall, which backs on to 10 Downing Street. In another answer, Mr Heseltine said 10 telephones, one fax machine, one photocopier and seven computers had been allocated to him and his private office staff.

Mr Bruce said: "This extraordinary information just shows who is now in control in Downing Street, and the enormous price Mr Major has had to pay to keep his job. Mr Heseltine now has an office as large as his own ego, and a phone bank large enough to mount a Conservative leadership bid from. Taxpayers will be furious at having to pay for two prime ministers."

Mr Major also confirmed Mr Heseltine would stand in for him at Prime Minister's question time when he could not be present, instead of Tony Newton, Leader of the Commons.

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