Wednesday 20 September 2017

Nicky Morgan set for handbagging on Have I Got News For You

Paul Merton next to a handbag after former education secretary Nicky Morgan pulled out of filming the BBC satirical panel show Have I Got News For You (BBC/PA)
Paul Merton next to a handbag after former education secretary Nicky Morgan pulled out of filming the BBC satirical panel show Have I Got News For You (BBC/PA)

A former cabinet minister at the centre of a spat over the Prime Minister's £1,000 leather trousers has been replaced by a handbag on tonight's episode of Have I Got News For You.

Former education secretary Nicky Morgan has been embroiled in the so-called "trousergate" row since she criticised the PM's decision to wear the £995 trousers during a photo shoot for a newspaper.

Tory MPs backing the PM have pointed to the fact that Mrs Morgan has a designer Mulberry handbag which retails for some £950.

The Tory MP for Loughborough pulled out of filming the satirical panel show on Wednesday due to "unforeseen circumstances", an agent for the programme's production company previously said.

Photographs of the BBC production show a brown leather handbag placed next to panellist Paul Merton in her place and Mrs Morgan tweeted: "I'd have donated the original bag if asked - it would have better lines than me."

Sources close to the 44-year-old are reported to have said the bag in question is more than a decade old and was a gift.

Mrs Morgan, who Theresa May sacked as education secretary when she took over in Downing Street, expressed doubt over the PM's decision to wear the Amanda Wakeley-designed "bitter chocolate" trousers for the photographs.

The move forced Mrs May to deny she was out of touch and prompted a top aide to bar Mrs Morgan from a No 10 meeting on Brexit.

Mrs Morgan had been booked to appear on the show, the last in the current series, since September alongside host Gary Lineker and comedian Jon Richardson.

A spokeswoman for Hat Trick Productions said: "After Nicky Morgan pulled out of this week's edition of the satirical panel show Have I Got News For You it was decided, in light of her spat with Downing Street over expensive leather goods, to replace her with a handbag."

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