Ruth Kelly has denied that the Government is a bully, after MP Martin Salter resigned as parliamentary private secretary to the Schools Minister, Jacqui Smith.
While Kelly claims that she doesn't "really understand why he's resigned", it seems clear (from the article, at least) that Salter resigned because he was in a difficult position - between representing other MP's views, and simultaneously working within the confines of Labour HQ's plans. Anyone who's been watching UK politics over the last few years - and anyone who's tried to draw my MP on an issue - will probably understand the effects and conflicts inherent in such a situation.
So Kelly doesn't exactly cast any falsehoods when she says:
"I don't think talking to my colleagues and explaining policy to them and listening is bullying ... I think it's a really good way of policy-making."
Of course, everyone's opinion is subjective by definition. However, it's hard to draw the conclusion that Kelly is "listening" with intent, as it were, when Salter has laid out his reasons in public, and which any fule with a brain could read between the lines of.
I am only left to imagine the definition of "explaining policy" as some scheme involving a wooden chair, a length of rubber tubing, one spotlight and 5 large-knuckled grunts. So no, no bullying going on - bullies are far more subtle. When MPs start getting txt messages at midnight "explaining" policy via phone-video-clip, then we might be making some ground.