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Green sickened

Never work with children or animals, is the old showbiz adage. Shadow education secretary Damian Green may wish to add students to that list: especially the student union variety.

Mr Green was forced to cancel the launch of his "No fees, no small print" campaign at Manchester University freshers' fair on Tuesday after an embarrassing bust-up with student officers.

Mr Green had issued a press release to about 200 members of the media about the event but was forced into a humiliating climb-down after Seb Dance, Manchester student union's communications officer, told him at the last minute he would have to hawk his wares from a pavement rather than, as originally planned, in the main hall.

Tara Hamilton-Miller, Mr Green's press officer, suspects low partisan trickery: "Mr Dance seems also to be an officer on the Labour Students national executive and we can only say that it was desperate measures from him (to try to embarrass Mr Green)."

But Mr Dance, who is in fact Labour Students' publicity officer, claims innocence: "I was told only one camera crew would be present and there would be no statement. Then there were going to be three cameras. It would disrupt the entire fair. It would be the same if it were Labour." Forgive us our scepticism, Seb.

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