Clarke shrugs off PM's cat jokes

Ken Clarke laughs off Cameron jibes
Ken Clarke laughs off Cameron jibes

Ken Clarke has not taken the prime minister's jibes to heart he insists.

The justice secretary told the Independent he would rather be the butt of a joke than be ignored, despite a series of bruising asides from David Cameron.

The prime minister opened his key-note speech to conference with a number of jokes about his cabinet colleagues, telling the conference hall that he had instructed the justice secretary to read Dostoyevsky's 'Crime and Punishment', twice.

However Mr Clarke said: "I would be rather annoyed if he had forgotten me, but then I'm not easy to forget in government."

The prime minister's remarks are a reference to the justice secretary's unconventional views on prison and rehabilitation, which have antagonised some on the right of the party.

Mr Cameron then referred to the on-going 'cat-gate' spat between Theresa May and Ken Clarke, joking that the whole cabinet should read 'Mog the Cat'. He then referred to the cat in the story not leading to the retention of a foreign prisoners, strongly suggesting Mr Cameron took Ms May's side in the spat.

In spite of this dig, Mr Clarke remained unperturbed by the slights.

"He made a couple of reasonable jokes about me", he said and in a frank display of loyalty adding: "It was an extremely good speech on the theme of leadership."


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