The pair go to see the Prime Minister in the Cabinet Room, where he is cock-a-hoop over his recent performance in the House of Commons. He insists that the two civil servants hear a verbatim report of PMQs and Sir Humphrey finds it difficult to interrupt. However, he eventually brings Hacker down to earth with typical verbiage, which he then translates.
The PM has lied to Parliament — the ultimate political sin. The MP, whose name is Hugh Halifax, was indeed the subject of government surveillance, which had only stopped until 17 minutes earlier presumably after Hacker's denial. Hacker, who had no knowledge of this, argues that he didn't lie and demands to know, in any case, why he wasn't informed. Sir Humphrey tells him that there are some things that he doesn't need to know. When Hacker protests that he has a right to be aware of everything, the Cabinet Secretary explains that nobody purposefully conceals anything from him; however, decisions are occasionally taken not to reveal information, which apparently makes all the difference.
Sir Humphrey receives an invitation to appear before a House of Commons Privileges Committee to answer the allegations concerning Hugh Halifax. He confesses to Bernard that even he is at a loss to know how to proceed.
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Then, over a sherry, he tells Bernard that he is to participate in a documentary on BBC Radio 3 about the structure of government. Sir Humphrey is concerned that if he turned down the opportunity, then his retired predecessor Sir Arnold Robinson would be interviewed and would outshine him. Bernard is mildly shocked that someone who is supposed to be "faceless" is making a media appearance, but as Sir Humphrey reminds him, "They don't show your face on radio.
It is the day of his interview, and as he hasn't had much experience of actually answering questions having devoted his entire career to evading them , the PM gives him some schooling in dealing with the media, in particular, the politician's method of handling a difficult interview.
Sir Humphrey then turns to his committee appearance and Hacker asks him to confirm what he said in the House. However, the mandarin states his loyalty to "the truth", and "will not become involved in some shabby cover-up. Afterwards, they continue to chat off the record, and Kennedy asks him why he couldn't have said more about unemployment. Sir Humphrey now obliges him and gives a full and frank personal opinion on how joblessness could be halved by cutting benefits and compelling the 'so-called' unemployed to accept offers of work, thereby removing them from the register "before you could say 'parasite'.
Sir Humphrey is sent a copy of the tape along with a note from the BBC. He is anxious that Bernard should hear his interview, but the tape only contains the 'off the record' comments and Sir Humphrey is aghast. Bernard is similarly astounded that his master could be so indiscreet.
Sir Humphrey is mortified and doesn't know what to do.
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