The Staggers 25 November 2011 Grant Shapps fails to bury bad news Housing minister tries to distract attention from 99 per cent fall in affordable house building. Print HTML If you haven't heard it already, here's housing minister Grant Shapps's car crash interview on the Today programme this morning. Presented with new figures showing a 99 per cent fall in affordable house building (from 35,735 to just 454), Shapps attempted to divert attention by starting a row with John Humphrys over whether he had pulled out of an interview the previous morning. He accused Today of misleading listeners by giving the impression that he had avoided the programme. "I was never booked," he said, offering the excuse that he had to get a train to Stoke (presumably unaware that Andrew Lansley had conducted an on-train interview earlier this week). But Humphrys insisted: "There was a booking with your staff which never happened." By the end of the exchange, which took up nearly a third of the interview, it almost seemed as if Shapps didn't want to talk about the figures. Grant Shapps: Housing strategy announcement "absolutely correct" (mp3) › For the Leveson inquiry and free expression George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman. Subscribe More Related articles Who "speaks for England" - and for that matter, what is "England"? Find the EU renegotiation demands dull? Me too – but they are important Why are boundary changes bad for Labour?