“Two Jobs” Des Browne insists he does his other job as Scottish Secretary in time which would otherwise be devoted to his constituency, his family and his own leisure. As to his job as defence Minister, he is putting in a full week’s work. Nobody believes a word of this, of course.

The attack comes because of the assault upon him personally, and upon the Prime Minister for permitting the situation in the first place, by five former Military Chiefs in a debate in the House of Lords last week. Now that explanation is beginning, as all Labours lies do, to unravel.

The Scotsman has done some analysis of his work since June of this year and it has worked out that Browne is spending as much as three days a week in some weeks on his Scottish Office work. One is not surprised, for Scotland is a matter of major concern just now for Labour since they lost control of it to the SNP in May this year and because of the importance to the Labour Gerrymander of the forty-odd seats at Westminster that it delivers every election, seats which make up a sizeable part of any Labour majority.

The lying explanation which Browne gave of his work patterns would, if true, suggest that he is actually neglecting his work as Scottish Secretary. After all, if it is the Government’s policy that the Union is a matter of vital importance to preserve, should it not have a full time minister working to ensure that preservation? It is also, most would think, disgraceful that the integrity of the United Kingdom is in the hands of a man who can, according to his own account, only devote a small amount of his spare time to the task.

In addition, what of Mr. Browne’s constituents in Kilmarnock & Loudoun: are they being properly served by a man with two demanding jobs? And if he is doing so much work (and do not imagine for a moment that Defence is a five-days-a-week, 9-5 job for one second) overall, how can he possibly be doing any of his jobs properly?

I have since his appointment been critical of this arrangement. The Defence of the United Kingdom is far too important to be left to a man who can only devote part of his time to it and it is, indeed, an insult to the young men and women who are fighting and dying in Afghanistan and Iraq. It should be ended forthwith.