Humphrys: speech leak was 'underhand'

By Greg Lewis

BBC Radio 4 Today presenter John Humphrys has described Downing
Street PR consultant Tim Allan’s leaking of a videotape of a
controversial speech as “underhand”.

Humphrys received a rap across the knuckles by BBC bosses earlier
this month following an after-dinner speech that he made to the
Commercial Directors Forum.

The speech, a videotape of which was given to The Times, allegedly contained comments that “all ministers were liars”.

However, on Friday, Humphrys said “serious” politicians, including Gordon Brown, had found the row amusing.

At the Chartered Institute of Public Relations conference in Cardiff, Humphrys was asked if he had a message for Allan.

“Yes, many thanks,” he said jokingly.”He did my profile the power of good.

No, I think what he did was underhand.

I
think it was silly. I think it was particularly duplicitous in the
sense that we had been together at a do when I was an after-dinner
speaker only a few weeks before that particular gig in Southampton.

“(Then)
I had made an after-dinner speech saying exactly the same things that I
said in Southampton, and which I’ve said a thousand times anyway and he
made no comment to me about it.”

Humphrys also said that it went unreported that his fee for the speech went to charity.

He stated: “What I would say to Mr Allan is if you’re in the business of information, just try and get it right.”

Smiling,
he added: “But the interesting thing about it is that serious
politicians regarded it for what it was – a bit of light-hearted fun,
mostly affectionate.

“The serious politicians, by that I mean people like Gordon Brown, thought the whole thing was mildly amusing.”

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