Modesty policy

February 7, 1997

Hacks attending the unveiling of the Scottish Office white paper on education and training bluntly demanded to know why deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine was on the presentation committee. Mr Heseltine explained that he was there because he was responsible for the Government's approach to competitiveness, which in turn was underpinned by the quality of education and training. And went on to predict that the Tories will win the election with a majority of 60.

But it emerged that not even the party leaders are singing from the same songsheet. At one point, Scottish secretary Michael Forsyth referred to Mr Heseltine's "uncharacteristic modesty". "Characteristic modesty,'' Mr Heseltine corrected. "We have a division within the Conservative party on this issue.''

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