Labour Sponsored Whelan’s Pass

Finally we know how Charlie Whelan had free reign of the parliamentary estate:

Mr. Dunne: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood of 24 March 2010, Official Report, column 295W, on Charlie Whelan, what type of pass Mr. Whelan holds; when it was issued; and who the sponsor is of the pass.

Nick Harvey: Mr. Whelan holds a temporary pass (light blue) issued in June 2009. It is sponsored by the parliamentary Labour party from within an agreed allocation.

It was speculated that he was there on as a union officer,  but in light of this revelation, his claims that he is not officially connected to the Labour campaign look particularly shaky. What was the justification for this high level access granted to, essentially, a lobbyist for vested interests?

UPDATE: PA are now reporting that Bercow is to look into the reasons behind why Whelan was given the pass.  Michael Fabricant asked the House: “You will recall that the Prime Minister asserted in previous Prime Minister’s questions that he is in no way connected with the Labour party. Has any indication been given to you that the Prime Minister now wishes to correct his original assertion, which was untrue?” Quite.



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GuidoFawkes Quote of the Day

Labour’s Austin Mitchell muses on the campaign:

“What’s the problem? No use pointing at the leader. Too late to change and unnecessary for Miliband is doing well at Question Time. His problem is connecting with the real world. He doesn`t speak people and his protective team of naive kids are playing West Wing rather than letting the leader relate to real people. We could point at the party, shrunk in numbers and enthusiasm because everything, from policy formulation to candidate selection, comes top down rather than bubbling up from below so campaigning becomes the opium of members deprived of any real role, though they`re not even sure what they’re campaigning about, with or for, but its role is marginal.”

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