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Struck dumb


Concerns about the government's Design Champion initiative are not without some substance. New housing and planning minister Keith Hill, four weeks into his job, was asked at a meeting last week to name the ODPM's ministerial design champion. 'Well if it's anyone, ' he bristled, 'then I'd think it is probably John Prescott because he cares so much about good design'. Realising that his response was somewhat unconvincing, the minister tried a different tack and looked for help from an aide. 'Obviously this is a very important post, 'Hill continued, before his aide finished his sentence; 'and we are pretty sure it's Yvette Cooper.'

Let's hope someone can clear up the confusion as this is the department looking after the massive house-building programme planned for the Thames Gateway. Still, given the putrid smell rising from various other government departments currently, the ODPM looks like a beacon of integrity.

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