Peter Mandelson was asked if the banks have agreed to the government's mortgage interest relief plan. He said (in video):
"Uh... eeeeeeeeeeee... the banks know very w-well, er, what actions the government is taking, what responses we expect; we're working together. There's no point in working against, er, each other in this situation. We have to work together to work through these problems, er, and that's what we're doing."
So that'll be a no, then?
It really is quite pathetic that the government have plucked this policy out of thin air, probably with the intention of wrong-footing the Tories or winning a 24-hour media boost. As Dizzy has shown, Brown lied about it yesterday in the House of Commons, and the banks show no sign of being bullied into accepting the proposal. The Conservatives are often being accused of playing party politics with issues; usually by Brown, and usually because he doesn't want to answer difficult questions. But what we have here is the government playing fast and loose, not only with the truth, but with people's homes and financial arrangements for the sake of good press.