Sir Jerry gets the pip in new media playground

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Indy Politics
Sir Jerry Wiggin, studying Cape apples in South Africa for the Commons agriculture committee, has so far stonewalled calls from the British media to give his side of allegations that he tabled a Commons amendment in the name of another MP, writes Jojo Moyes.

But yesterday, as the "cash for amendments" row gained momentum, he found the South African media harder to shake off. Pursued into a Cape Town meeting with a South African minister, the MP for Weston-super-Mare stood alone, shifting his weight like an awkward schoolboy as a South African camera crew bore down on him.

"You don't mind if I ask you a few questions?" said the interviewer, as innocently menacing as the classroom bully.

Sir Jerry patently did. But as his colleagues shifted to the other side of the playground, he found he was out on his own.

"When are you going back?"

Sir Jerry, cornered, gave a defiant little shake of his shoulders and half turned from the camera. "That's my private affair."

"You're still with the group?"

"I certainly am," Sir Jerry said, after a pause. "I'm not leaving the group."

The group, however, appeared to have other ideas. They were now as far over the other side of the room as was possible without plastering themselves to the walls.

Sir Jerry's ears began to get rather pink. "I didn't expect to come to this office and be interrogated about my private affairs," he protested, with a watery smile.

"I came here to discover what's going on in South Africa...which I shall continue to do..." He looking vainly towards his hosts, who were staring at their shoes.

"So you've no intention of resigning?" said the interviewer, sweetly.

Sir Jerry looked rather stunned. He began breathing hard. "Certainly not. I've no intention of saying anything." His agitation grew, until: "Just... just... I'm not going to continue this... " Then, with what may have been a stamp of his foot, he walked out.

"I don't know why the media are here," came a voice, as Sir Jerry disappeared. Perhaps he should have pretended he was Sebastian Coe.