Hapless Clarke's a proper Charlie

20th June 2003 at 01:00
Charles Clarke is making a bit of a habit of getting his money nicked.

Fresh from having a hefty chunk of his education budget purloined in national insurance rises by the cunning Gordon Brown, the hapless Education Secretary had pound;100 stolen from his wallet on a train.

Exact details were sketchy, but most accounts agreed a blonde in first class had sneakily pickpocketed him, removed the cash, and then cheekily slid the minister's wallet back into his pocket. Quite a feat of the cutpurse's art!

However, when the Diary contacted transport police, a different account emerged. Says DC Alan Reed: "There are some learning possibilities here. It appears that when he was travelling on the train, Mr Clarke put everything including his wallet on the table in front of him." The money appears to have been slipped out of Mr Clarke's wallet when his head was buried in his newspaper, oblivious to all around him. Reminiscent of his department's state of awareness in the run-up to the funding crisis?

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