Poor Crispin Blunt. Political humiliation doesn't come much more public and swift than this.
One day you give a speech about prison policy, announcing you've rescinded orders banning parties, comedy workshops and other "arts activities" for prisoners, and insisting you're not going to bow to media outrage over such thing.
The next day, Downing Street announces that you're wrong, that the orders will remain in place and that your speech wasn't properly approved before delivery. Ouch.
Mr Blunt will be the focus for attention today, but Government folk know that in reality, he's not much more than collateral damage in a bigger war being fought between his boss, Ken Clarke, and Andy Coulson, No 10's press chief. Mr Clarke is determined to press ahead with a criminal justice agenda that puts more emphasis on rehabilitation and less on punishment; Mr Coulson, a former tabloid editor, is determined not to get on the wrong side of public opinion or be outflanked by Labour on law and order.
Despite the wounds Mr Blunt has suffered in losing this particular skirmish, the war is far from over.
Meanwhile, the joke in Whitehall today is that Mr Coulson is "having difficulty pronouncing Crispin's surname"