Labour MPs "caught red-handed" sharing quotes

In the old New Labour days it was sometimes said that party bosses trusted their MPs so little they even wrote identical press releases for them. All the keen backbencher had to do was to insert his or her name between the phrase "local MP" and "said".

But that was then. These days Labour has cast aside the old control freak tendencies associated with its tenure of Millbank Tower. Or has it?

A press release on pensions arrived this morning from Welsh Labour HQ in the name of the Llanelli MP, Nia Griffith, Owen Smith's deputy in the shadow Wales Office team. "Once again," said Ms Griffith, "Ministers have been caught with their hands in pensioners' pockets."

If that sounded familiar, it was probably because the quotes were almost identical to those issued (on the same subject) by Owen Smith, yesterday. "Once again," said Mr Smith, "Ministers have been caught with their hands in pensioners' pockets."

Ms Griffith said: "Ministers have been caught red-handed hiding the truth on pensions reforms."

Mr Smith said: "Ministers have been caught red-handed hiding the truth on pensions reforms."

The only differences in the quotes are down to the inclusion of data for Mr Smith's constituency; Ms Griffith included data for Wales as a whole.

The main quote first appeared in a press release issued by Labour's pensions spokesman earlier this month - as reported in The Independent two weeks ago. All further sightings gratefully received.

Great minds thinking alike? A powerful display of on-message unity from Labour? Or have they been caught red-handed - and presumably a little red-faced?