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BBC's Nick Robinson nearly "roared with laughter" when asked to become a spin doctor for Ed Miliband

BY LOULLA-MAE ELEFTHERIOU-SMITH

Published 31/05/2015

BBC political editor Nick Robinson with then Labour leader Ed Miliband, as Mr Robinson has described how Labour tried to recruit him to be Mr Miliband's spin doctor in the run-up to the general election. Yui Mok/PA Wire.
BBC political editor Nick Robinson with then Labour leader Ed Miliband, as Mr Robinson has described how Labour tried to recruit him to be Mr Miliband's spin doctor in the run-up to the general election. Yui Mok/PA Wire.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson has revealed that he had to stop himself from roaring out loud with laughter when a senior Labour figure asked if the party could employ him as a spin doctor for Ed Miliband ahead of the general election.

Robinson has detailed the Labour phone call in his memoir, ‘Election Notebook: The Inside Story of the Battle Over Britain’s Future and My Personal Battle to Report it,’ of which excerpts have been published in The Daily Mail.

He describes the moment when, alone in his office in Millbank in July last year, he was told down the phone that Labour “knows it has a problem and is determined to fix it,” that “the leader needs advice, and it has to come from someone with sufficient stature to ensure he’ll listen to it”.

Initially thinking the caller was asking for advice on whom to approach, Robinson said it began to dawn on him that “I was being asked whether I would consider taking on the job of spin doctor, with a role at No 10 to follow, naturally”.

“For the rest of the conversation I had to resist the urge to roar with laughter an inquire whether the caller had got the wrong number,” he wrote, and told the senior Labour figure that he was thankful for being considered but that he remained committed to journalism.

The broadcaster claims he still has “no idea” whether the approach was made with Miliband’s knowledge or “as is more likely, by someone freelancing to try to be helpful”.

Robinson was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year and recounts his journey from the discovery of the bronchial carcinoid tumour, his operation, and his battle to overcome the loss of his voice in the months before the general election in his new book.

The broadcaster had to work to restore his voice following his operation and thanked the doctors and nurses that looked after him at the Royal Brompton and Royal Free hospitals in a blog before the election.

The news of his illness sparked an outpouring of messages and support on Twitter from friends and the public, including from Prime Minister David Cameron and The Sunday Times' political editor Tim Shipman.

Source: The Independent

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