Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008

Minister's demand list 'amateur'


Ashley Pearson, Bob Crow debate Liam Byrne's memo on Daily Politics

Showbiz pundit Ashley Peason says Liam Byrne's demands for coffee and soup at particular times are "amateur" compared with some celebrities.

The demands are in a 'Working with Liam Byrne' memo telling civil servants in 2006 how to treat the now 38-year-old consultant-turned-cabinet minister.

Ms Pearson told the BBC: "He's quite an amateur...I have heard much worse."

Mr Byrne said the memo prepared staff for the "shock of... his rather extensive list of faults and foibles".

The detailed instructions, obtained by the Mail on Sunday, come from a 2006 memo when Mr Byrne was a Home Office minister.

One of Ms Pearson's fellow guests on the BBC's Daily Politics, union leader Bob Crow, said he had "never issued a memo like that".

Monday "Arrive London around 3-4ish, 8pm dinner with colleagues"
Thursday night "I tend to try and finish up"
Sunday "A sacrosanct family day"
Source: Mail on Sunday

He said: "I couldn't care less what he has for his breakfast, what time he has it for his lunch.

"I just wish he could concentrate a bit more on running the government, more than he's doing at the moment."

According to the newspaper the document said: "I'm addicted to coffee. I like a cappuccino when I come in, an espresso at 3pm and soup at 12.30-1pm."

At the beginning of the day, the room should be cleared before he arrives.

"I like the papers set out in the office before I get in. The white boards should be cleared."

He tells officials to brief him "not what you think I should know but you expect I will get asked".

Briefing notes should be in font size 16, on no more than one sheet of paper. "Never put anything to me unless you understand it and can explain it to me in 60 seconds," he adds.

The Cabinet Office minister's spokesman told the Mail on Sunday: "He is a highly efficient minister but has become more flexible since the memo was issued.

"Some days, he has his soup at 1.30pm."

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