Steve Brau­nias’ Se­cret Di­ary of ... IAIN LEES-GAL­LOWAY

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It’s a strange thing but I could swear when I moved into my new of­fice as the Min­is­ter of Im­mi­gra­tion that there was enough room to not just prac­tise my putting but give the ball a fair old whack down an imag­i­nary fair­way.

But now it seems ac­tu­ally kind of cramped. It feels like there’s a whole lot less room.

It’s as though the walls are clos­ing

Well, the first rule of pol­i­tics is: ig­nore it, and it’ll go away! Works ev­ery time. So I put my feet up on my desk and got to grips with the cross­word.

I took a cur­sory glance at the clues and got the gist of it, felt its pulse, and solved the puz­zle in next to no time.

An aide came in and dropped off some news­pa­pers. He no­ticed the cross­word, and leaned in to take a closer look. A smile spread across his face.

A lit­tle while later I could hear his rau­cous laugh­ter in the staff kitchen. Other peo­ple were cack­ling, too.

One thing I’ll say about the Labour-led Govern­ment: it’s never short of a laugh.


It’s a strange thing but I could swear I used to have a desk.

I stepped into my of­fice this morn­ing and there was only room for a chair. The walls seemed a lot closer to­gether; I walked from one side of the of­fice to the other, count­ing my foot­steps, and only got as far as eight.


I walked from one side of the of­fice to the other, count­ing my foot­steps, and only got as far as six.

I needed to find out what was go­ing on. I went to the top. I asked, “Is this some­thing to do with my han­dling of the Karel Sroubek de­ci­sion? Be­cause I stand by it. I gave it con­sid­ered thought, I fol­lowed due process, I went through it with a fine-tooth comb from 4.30pm to 4.37pm.

“I re­ally stud­ied the case. I mean have you seen the pho­tos of Karel Sroubek? Sort of guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly.

“And we all know what the Czech Repub­lic is like. Dark, shad­owy place, ruled by a crim­i­nal un­der­world, there are knif­ings and poi­son­ings ev­ery day in its an­cient cap­i­tal, Bucharest, and sui­cide by drown­ing is com­mon in the River Danube, which flows from the Black Sea. He wouldn’t stand a chance!

“I did the right thing here. The moral thing. The quick thing.

“All I’m try­ing to say here is, can I have my desk back? And, come to think of it, my chair. I’ll set­tle for the chair. Okay? Boss? Hello?”

“Mate,” said Clarke, “she’s not here.”


I only got as far as two foot­steps.


I knew I shouldn’t have risked it but I stepped into my of­fice and the walls closed in on me and I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t even call for help.

The only thing to do in the sit­u­a­tion was to stay there, trapped, and wait to be taken out and shot.

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