The less than riveting race to lead the British Conservative grouping in the European Parliament climaxes next Tuesday. With none of the three candidates likely to receive 50% of the vote in the first round, this one could get messy. This morning ConservativeHome profiled all three men – Richard Ashworth, Martin Callanan and Charles Tannock. One in particular caught Guido’s eye though…
Richard Ashworth, who had to fight for re-selection after infuriating his local association in the run up to the 2009 euro elections, is ironically the Tories agriculture spokesman despite his own disastrous farming record – which Guido may cover next week if he can dig out the clippings over the weekend.
Ashworth has admitted in the past to paying his wife £29,999 to be his full time PA, but in the run up to the leadership vote there might be a bit of a headache from him. A former staffer has contacted Guido and spilled the beans that despite working for Ashworth for many months they:
“…never had any form of communication with the MEP’s PA, Mrs Ashworth, not an email, not a phone call, not a letter, nothing from her. There was absolutely no proof that she was doing any work at all to earn the £33,000 that she was being paid. Even if she was working in the constituency on a part-time basis you would have expected at least some form of contact, at least once, with the European staff.”
The last thing any British delegation in the European Parliament is another gravy-training, free-loading, trougher, especially not as a leader.