No wonder Labour is so reluctant to hand over the whips’ list of Parliamentary Private Secretaries. I’ve just had a word with Valerie Passmore, editor of Dod’s Parliamentary Companion.
It was Dod’s which provided me with the list of 12 vacancies in government for PPSs – the lowest rung of the ministerial ladder. We ran the story on Monday. The fact that many MPs don’t want a job in government any more implies that morale is sliding.
Valerie now tells me that the true figure could be higher because there are also ministers in the Lords who might have had Parliamentary aides in the past. She offers a figure “closer to 20″.