Jonathan Werran 17 December 2014

Pickles is Scrooged

Communities secretary Eric Pickles would choose to play Scrooge, the protagonist of Charles Dickens’ legendary short story ‘A Christmas Carol’ in pantomime, it has emerged.

The revelation followed the final question posed by chair of the Commons communities and local government Committee at yesterday’s #AskPickles session, which allowed members of the public to submit questions to the secretary of state via Twitter.

Committee chair, Clive Betts, asked which given role in a Christmas show Mr Pickles would chose, out of three options, the Wicked Uncle, Scrooge or the Fairy Godmother

Mr Pickles replied: ‘I always think playing villains is better than being the Fairy Godmother.

‘And one of my favourite books is Scrooge [A Christmas Carol] and I remember that after the ghost of Chiristmas to Come he has finished with him, and he has repented and looked after Tiny Tim, he said: “Many people laughed at him, but if any man understood the true meaning of Christmas, then it was Ebenezer Scrooge,’ Mr Pickles said

He added: ‘I would like to think they would say if anyone understood the true nature of localism and local government it was Eric Pickles.’

Mr Pickles answered a series of questions ranging from bins, local government finance and the cost of ministerial limousines.

In response to a question from The MJ’s chief reporter, Dan Peters, Mr Pickles said his greatest regret in five years as communities secretary was that he didn’t start the troubled families programme until three years ago.

‘I have seen how effective it is how it has changed people’s lives and the way local authority services are provided,’ said Mr Pickles

‘I would have loved to have had five years at it. It is changing social policy and shows that if local authorities and national government are prepared to trust one another and work together they can achieve great things.’

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