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Silence is no defence

You might think that politicians would have learned by now that failing to answer a question is no way to avoid bad publicity.

But even mighty Government ministers are still fall into the old trap, as the Hull Daily Mail revealed with its campaign for more police officers on Humberside.

The paper faxed a series of questions to Home Secretary Jack Straw’s office as part of its “Save our bobbies” campaign and was promised a response within 48 hours.

A week later, Mr Straw’s failure to reply gave the Mail a simple splash.

“We are still waiting” said a story headed “Straw’s snub”.

Initially, wrote parliamentary reporter Kirsty Buchanan, the Home Office’s “excuse” for failing to respond was that its phones had “gone into ‘melt down’ because of the Afghan hostage crisis”. The paper was told to try the following day but still there was no response.

Mr Straw’s silence also earned him the sort of treatment usually reserved for long-running hostage stories – a daily panel headed “NO REPLY” over his headshot, captioned: “We’re still waiting. Day…”

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