The Sketch: Huhne's own golden rule? Deny everything

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MPs claimed they wanted to know how the Golden Rule was going to operate in the Green Deal to make the Heat Incentive scheme improve the Quarterly Renewable Waste strategy. Or so my notes say.

The Energy Secretary rose. There was a sudden silence in the gallery. Chris Huhne was taking his first question time since the police had started to take an active interest in his affairs.

He said: "If I can answer that question in a casual yet concerned way, I can modestly show that one's high intelligence and knowledgeable experience attached to an obviously clear conscience demonstrates precisely how pleasantly businesslike and utterly focussed in an undistracted way on the job in hand I am."

That was the body language, and the sub-lingual message.

The allegation is that he's taken the principle of carbon off-setting (paying other people to act virtuously so you can act badly) and applied it to his driving life. In short, that he broke the speed limit and got his wife, just to remind readers, to take the points on her licence.

He denies it. But he denies it in a way that makes sceptics think he's denying another charge, and one that isn't being made. He is above all an economist and it would hardly be surprising if he weren't economical with the truth. He also ran a risk-rating agency, so he must have made his calculations carefully. His conclusion is that he's still going to be the deputy prime minister – and sooner rather than later.

In other news: Greg Barker has also gone mad. You may not know who Greg Barker is or that he was ever sane. He's a junior minister with crocheted hair.

It wasn't just his wild attacks on "the miserable failure of Labour's horrendous strategic failures" (I précis for the sake of clarity). It was his gestures that alerted psychiatric services.

Suddenly he is making double-handed stabbing signs on the despatch box like an insane pianist playing complex chords. Then he turns them to his chest – either to say, "I would tear out my own heart if it helped!" Or possibly, "I've got enormous knockers, look at them!" Then he turns his fingers and they become boxing hands fighting the air.

The poor boy, what noble mind was there o'erthrown? "He thinks he's getting Jeremy Hunt's job," it was explained to me. At last, a proper laugh.

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