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Page last updated at 12:29 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

Worst Minister?

Jon Sopel
Jon Sopel
The Politics Show

Hello again...

An unusual boast for this weekend's programme, we'll be interviewing the worst ever Cabinet minister.

James Purnell
James Purnell: worst ever Cabinet minister?

That's quite a title. And quite a competition I hear you cry.

To be strictly fair to the unfortunate minister in question, step forward James Purnell, he's only bottom of the history pile in the field of social security (work and pensions to you and me).

And let me hasten to add, before Mr Purnell finds something better to do with his Sunday lunchtime, this is not my judgement.

And interestingly it is not the judgement of his Conservative opposite number.

No this dagger is supplied by none other than the trade union leader Mark Serwotka, angered by the Government's welfare reform plans:

"He's the worst Secretary of State for social security this country has ever had the misfortune of having". I think that's what they mean by a 'fraternal embrace'

Hopeless quiz

The quiz-lovers among you will doubtless be keen to know Mr Purnell's predecessors, alternative candidates perhaps for the Serwotka Prize for all-round hopelessness.

They include Harriet Harman, Peter Lilley, Norman Fowler, Barbara Castle and Richard Crossman.

Nomination papers to Mr Serwotka care of the Public and Commercial Services union please…

Key Minister

Rising star or dead loss, Mr Purnell undoubtedly controls a key department.

Unemployment figures are likely to break through the 2m mark next week, and the responsibility for helping the new and long-term jobless via benefits, training and advice falls into James Purnell's fat in-tray.

There's no shortage of problems, as highlighted by the former Woolworth's workers we've been following on The Politics Show. So will Mr Purnell prove to be a man with a plan?

We'll try to find out.

Worst dogs

James Purnell
James Purnell: worst ever Cabinet minister?

But not content with the worst Social Security Secretary, we'll look at the worst dogs too: and whether the Dangerous Dogs Act is about to be changed.

There's pressure in Scotland to extend legal controls over dogs into your homes and gardens, and not just, as now, in public places.

Will England and Wales once again be following the Scottish lead?

And we'll also talk to the Defence Secretary John Hutton about Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and what he made of those Muslim protestors in Luton with their banners denouncing British soldiers as terrorists and murderers.

So the worst ever Social Security Secretary, the worst behaved dogs and, arguably, the worst demonstration.

What is not to like?

See you at noon on Sunday

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