When is a smear not a smear? Simple answer, when it’s the truth. A spokesman for Andy Burnham has called the complaint made about his conduct to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner a “weak smear”. What do you think?
Back in May, while he was still the Shadow Education Secretary, Andy Burnham tabled an amendment to the Education Bill that would require all secondary school pupils have access to independent careers advice. If it had been accepted, it would have been a replacement for the cuts to the “Connexions” service. He admitted it would cost £200 million.
Guess who had been pushing for this idea – Unison:
“Careers services for young people in England are being slashed by up to 50% which could lead to 8,000 job losses, the public services union Unison says. Cuts in grants to local authorities for youth services could mean one in four staff at Connexions careers advice services lose their jobs, it says.”
What a strange coincidence… or perhaps not. Burnham took a grand from the union in May 2010 and crucially again at the end of Febuary 2011, just weeks before he joined in with their campaign to save “Connexions”. And what a strange coincidence that Burnham did not declare this donation when tabling the amendment, despite it being given in such a recent period of time. The matter has been reported to John Lyons and it seems a pretty open and shut case – there was no declaration at the time the amendment went down, despite the rules being very clear. There has always been a perception that the unions have Labour by the balls, but this lot are proving the assertion beyond any doubt…