Telephone conversation between David Cameron and Francis Maude – Before panic at the petrol stations
David Cameron: Hello Francis. Hope you are well.
Francis Maude: Oh hello David. How jolly nice to hear from you. What can I do for you old boy?
David Cameron: Well you know all this talk about cash for access, and accepting donations for favours. And how I have to reveal all the people I invited to Downing St for Dinner. Someone is going to smell a rat soon.
Francis Maude: Oh yes terrible business, it’s all over the front pages. And those dreadful tanker drivers threatening to strike. How dare they.
David Cameron: My thoughts exactly Maudey boy. I was thinking we could kill two birds with one stone here. How do you fancy making a statement to the press? Something that will take the heat off us over this business of accepting cash from donors.
Francis Maude: What a spiffing idea. Anything you want old boy. What do you want me to tell the buggers?
David Cameron: That’s the spirit Maudey boy. I have arranged a press conference and prepared a statement. I want you to say something really stupid. Something that the press will jump on straight away.
Francis Maude: Isn’t that usually Boris Johnson’s job?
David Cameron: Yes but he says so many stupid things these days; They won’t even bother printing it. So that’s why I am asking you. You’re a member of the Cabinet Office. Your name sounds posh, and nobody really knows who you are. It’s a perfect combination.
Francis Maude: Splendid thinking old boy. A smoke screen. The oldest trick in the book. So what is it you want me to say? That is going to thrill the press so much?
David Cameron: I want you to advise people to store petrol in Jerry Cans.
Francis Maude: A Jerry can. What’s a Jerry Can. Old boy?
David Cameron: I am not really sure. But I have been getting some advice off George Bush. And he told me to trust him on this one.
Francis Maude: Well whatever you say old bean you’re the boss. How will I come out of it the other end? Will I look bad or good?
David Cameron: No need to worry old boy. I have even prepared an apology for you. And all that nonsense about you renting your flat out, while you were living in a house down the road. We will forget about it. How does that sound?
Francis Maude: Magnificent old bean. Let me at the buggers.