The day the blue skies nearly fell in on John Birt
Friday 03 June 2005
As the Prime Minister's strategy advisor, Lord Birt is supposed to come up with radical solutions for the future of government. But his blue sky thinking has been interrupted by a much more down-to-earth proposal for his boss - let's get the roof fixed.
A leaked memo reveals that the ceiling in Lord Birt's Downing Street office fell down recently - but to the probable dismay of many former employees, the former BBC director general was not in his room at the time.
"The ceiling in John Birt's room collapsed overnight," Jay Jayasundra, an accommodation manager at No 10 wrote in the internal memo. "Fortunately the room was empty at the time; had he been in the room he would have sustained serious injury."
The memo, seen by the Financial Times, did not mention exactly when the incident took place, but it seems the planned £30m refurbishment of Downing Street revealed in newspaper reports at the weekend cannot come soon enough.
After President George Bush's visit to London in 2003, Whitehall officials drew up plans for a £30m refit of No 10 - which has been home to prime ministers since 1732 - and adjoining buildings. Project George, as the proposal is called followed behind-the-scenes complaints from Mr Bush about security, "sewage smells", "poor" lighting and "non-existent" air conditioning. It is reported to be under consideration. But the Prime Minister would have to vacate the premises for two years.
A Downing Street spokesman said last night: "From time to time, with buildings of this age, these things do happen."
- 2 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Mafia's wall of silence broken: Victim of Cosa Nostra's extortion rackets in its Corleone heartland co-operates with authorities for the first time ever
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...
£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...