Charlie Whelan says . . .

Don't believe it - "No more Euro spin"

Who was the mysterious "senior government source" or "Whitehall source" who briefed "leading media opinion-formers" about our new line on the European constitution? It won't surprise you to know that I wasn't one of those invited to the Foreign Office last Monday to get the new Euro line, but I can tell you that the secret "source" was none other than the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw.

Why on earth do lobby hacks continue to play the silly government game by refusing to tell the nation who has briefed

them? On the Wednesday, Jack Straw told

the BBC's political editor, Andrew Marr, and ITN's Nick Robinson that ratification of the European constitution was no longer absolutely necessary. This was an astonishing political story and changed the whole nature of the debate on the constitution. Despite this, neither Marr nor Robinson felt it necessary to tell their millions of viewers how they came about the new line. We have come to expect the paper boys to play the elite lobby club rules, and they did again this time, but surely we should expect a better service from the broadcasters.

The result of all this is that the government does now have a more sensible line on the European constitution. Whatever happens at the EU summit in Brussels in December, Blair will be able to claim some sort of victory. He will be able to claim that the hard line has won concessions, or simply refuse to accept a treaty Britain does not like. One thing we won't have is a referendum, and we all know why. Blair would lose it. Our new Europe policy will certainly be a vote-winner, and will keep the Sun onside, but what happened to the PM's claim that he wanted to be at the heart of Europe?