IT SOUNDED great - "Blair spending less than Major on schools admits top Whitehall mandarin". Unfortunately the truth of Nick St Aubyn's triumphant press release wasn't quite so good.
He claimed that spending in Labour's first three years was half a billion down on the Tories' last three when Michael Bichard venured before the education select committee on Tuesday. He rammed the point home to a waiting world in a press release later.
Alas, it ain't true. The Tory backbencher had totted up the Treasury's yearly figures wrongly - spending's actually up by the same amount. The Diary suggests the numeracy hour.