Hapless. That's the only word to describe Des Browne, who I gather is known as 'Swiss Toni' in the armed forces. I have rarely seen a weaker dispatch box performance from a Cabinet Minister than the one the Secretary of State has just given. When you make a statement as a Minister you are supposed to reply to points made by the Opposition Spokesman. Des Browne answered hardly any of the points made by Liam Fox, most importantly the accusation that he had ignored Queen's Regulations which clearly outline that the decision on whether the servicemen and women should have been able to sell their stories to the press was HIS decision and not the Navy's.
Sky News has just pointed out several inconsistencies in Browne's statement and I do not believe he is off the hook. Up to now, I have taken the view that this is an issue which is not serious enough to warrant a resignation. However, all the people I know in the Armed Forces tell me that Browne's reputation is shot to pieces and they all want him gone. In the end, that's what will do for him if anything does.