Ben Brogan reports on the progress of David Ruffley MP…
“Over the summer his colleagues have rallied round with support, making sure that his constituency duties were covered, and helping David get back on track.”
Former Labour MP Chris Mullin’s diaries have been a runaway success, their candid look at the rise and fall of New Labour from the perspective of a minor character in the saga is compelling stuff. However just because an MP has written a book, however good, is that an excuse to throw the rules out of the window?
Tonight Mullin will be in conversation with The Time’s Peter Riddell at an event organised by publishers Profile Books. Strangely no one has batted an eyelid that a former MP is using the Parliamentary estate for commercial gain. According to an email that did the rounds today, Mullin will be flogging and signing his book in a venue designed to pull politicos, while the taxpayer picks up the tab. Could the paper or publishers not have found a private venue, or was the allure of the free room too tempting?
The perks continue long after the days on the green benches …
David Nuttall’s Ten Minute Rule Bill to have the smoking ban amended so that private clubs and pubs would allow smoking, if they wanted it, has sadly just been shot down in the Commons. But the result of ayes 86, noes 141 shows the growing popularity for such an idea. This was a mere lone backbencher’s campaign thrown together hastily on the luck of a draw. With a coordinated movement within the coalition who knows what could happen…
Portsmouth City Council has been left reeling at the arrest and questioning of Mike Hancock for indecent assault. Inter-party email exchanges through the night have left the LibDems spinning “move along people, nothing to see here”. The grandly named Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the LibDem Council Leader said in the early hours:
“When I knock on doors in Portsmouth I find someone on almost every street who tells me how Mike Hancock has help make their lives better. Mike is by far the best MP this city has had for many years. I continue to think that Mike should continue to be allowed to continue his work for local people.”
Perhaps not the wisest choice of words. It was his attempts “to make their lives better” that got Hancock into this mess in the first place.
UPDATE: Surprisingly LibDemVoice fail to omit the key detail that Hancock was arrested and bailed. Compare and contrast the two statements. Firstly from Hancock:
“I can confirm that I was questioned on Tuesday 12 October by officers of the Hampshire Police in relation to allegations made against me by one individual. I attended the police station voluntarily, cooperated fully and answered all questions that were asked. ”
And the law:
“Hampshire Constabulary spokesman Ian Sainsbury said in a statement: ‘A man has been arrested on suspicion of indecent assault following a complaint from a woman in Portsmouth.”
Pervy MP Mike Hancock has been arrested over claims he indecently assaulted a single mother who went to him for help. Guido has been covering the shenanigans of the Lib Dem MP for Portsmouth South for months – there is much more to come. He has been released on police bail…
See also : “Handycock” Faces Probing (Oct 12), +++ “Handycock” Loses Injunction Battle +++ (Oct 7), Exclusive: “Handycock” In Court Next Week (Sep 28), Third Time Unlucky For Hancock (Sep 27), Exclusive: Hancock’s Half Hour (With the Police) (3Aug).
+++ More follows +++
Guido can’t decide whether the British public are a sympathetic bunch who want to help some one out, or a cruel rabble who want to elongate someone’s humiliation for their own viewing pleasure. Either way Anton Du Beke must be missing old partner Kate Garraway.
It turns out that despite her atrocious Strictly Come Dancing performance on Saturday, which saw the lowest ever score for a salsa, Anne Widdecombe still topped the viewers vote for the person they didn’t want to go home. The boffins at Survation, a specialist pollster who gauge this sort of thing, seem to think the public feel sorry for the former Tory MP and feel she could become a John Sergeant type figure. Guido can’t think why people would want to see more of this:
He has his suspicions though…
As an up and coming human rights lawyer specialising in anti-establishment cases, you can understand why Sadiq Khan might have been interested in getting as many controversial briefs as possible. However Khan’s two visits to the terror suspect Guido referred to yesterday, Babar Ahmed,were made ,he claimed at the time, in his capacity as a “friend”. The Sir Christopher Rose Report into why Khan was bugged on those visits concluded that he made no effort to reveal to prison security that he was an MP. Despite this, two years later the then Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman misinformed the lobby by saying Khan was there “acting as a local MP”.
Gordon Brown’s spokesman and Babar Ahmad’s own sister Sara have claimed that Khan and Babar were friends since their childhood. However Khan told constituents in 2006 that he had only known him for a fifteen years and told Parliament that it was even less time. But what did he tell the prison authorities?
When he was filling out an application to visit Babar Ahmad in 2005 Khan told the prison that he had known Ahmad “since they were 12 or 13 years old; they were locals and attended the same mosque”. That’s wasn’t what Khan was saying publicly a year later.
If it was a honest mistake then clear it up and have Hansard corrected, but as it stands Khan has mislead the House of Commons. Along with the deliberate removal of details of their relationship from his own website, Khan is looking very slippery here. There is a big difference between meeting someone as a boy of 12 and a man of 21.
Still the questions remain:
For a lawyer he can certainly be careless with the facts, hardly appropriate for the Justice Department…
Guido understands that official complaints have gone in against LibDem letch Mike Hancock MP. Portsmouth co-conspirators are talking openly locally about their “sex pest MP”. As regular readers will know, during the election Hancock got an injunction to stop […]