AlanduncantargetedAlan Duncan is receiving quite a bit of friendly fire at the moment.  An unnamed Tory MP tells today’s Telegraph: "Just imagine the shadow business secretary is away skiing when we are going across the country to talk to people hurt by recession. And that, for a would be Business Secretary, at a time of massive economic and business upheaval. Contrast that with Peter Mandelson who has been everywhere since his return."  But most of the briefing appears to be coming from within CCHQ.  I got one such unauthorised briefing myself yesterday.  Yesterday’s Sun had an anti-Duncan quote from a "senior party official".  All very unhelpful and purportedly rooted in the extent of Mr Duncan’s outside interests.

We’ll release the full shadow cabinet satisfaction league table tomorrow but Alan Duncan’s rating rose again in December.  He is the sixth most popular member of David Cameron’s shadow cabinet – behind (alphabetically) Michael Gove, Chris Grayling, Dominic Grieve, William Hague and Eric Pickles.

4.45pm update:

Mr Duncan has this afternoon issued a statement regarding the Nissan job losses:

“We regret these losses. The motor industry has been hit hard by a collapse in demand. There is no complete escape from Gordon Brown’s recession.
"Gordon Brown’s 100,000 new jobs claim is already falling apart as an exercise in spin. He has previously said that his plan would help companies like Nissan to save jobs. That now appears to be little more than cynical spin. While he gets headlines, people are getting laid off.
“Our national loan guarantee scheme would help sectors like this get the credit support they so desperately need. Every day the Government dithers and does not introduce our policy, more jobs are lost.”

Tim Montgomerie