Housing Minister, Margaret Beckett MP
The Housing Minister Margaret Beckett has admitted that it has not been a pleasant week for the Government but that she had "seen far worse many times".
Mrs Beckett, who was first elected to Parliament in 1974, said it was "familiar territory" before going on to blame a "hostile opposition and a media that doesn't want to hear".
Her comments came as Hazel Blears becomes the latest Cabinet minister to launch an attack on the way the Government has been communicating. Mrs Beckett defended her comments:
"What Hazel basically said in that article is something that she's said repeatedly at Cabinet
that we collectively as a Cabinet and as a party are responsible for the way in which we conduct our communications, recognising that it can be an uphill struggle in terms of handling the media, but that it is all of us that have this responsibility to communicate where we are; and also that up to now maybe it's not always working as effectively as it should and greater efforts need to be made. I have heard Hazel say that time without number."
But she also turned her attack on the Conservatives who, she claimed, have reneged on previous deals made with the Government behind the scenes.
"There are lots of things over recent months where consultations with the other parties have been productive but, when it has looked as if there was agreement on particular issues, then at the last moment it's not been delivered."
And she said she was "horrified" by Charles Clarke's comments where he said he was ashamed to be a Labour MP. " I'm truly sorry, horrified actually, by what Charles said. I think it's completely unjustified.
"I am very proud to be a Labour MP and if what Charles was referring to was the handling of the issue around the Gurkhas, I'm very proud of this government's record on the Gurkhas."
The Politics Show also spoke to the Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox who gave a commitment that a future Conservative Government would replace Trident.
"It is prudent and sensible to give Britain a guarantee against nuclear blackmail" and that "there will be a replacement for our current Trident system under the Conservatives."
However, he also made it clear that there would have to be a review on spending.
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