Labour’s latest van is another roaring success…
Guido has been wondering why exactly this van is even parked on the parliamentary estate, given that is clearly party political. It spent the night in the Norman Shaw car park. MPs are given two passes and one parking space each for vehicles, and thus the Labour Party are saving £50 a day in SW1 parking charges thanks to the taxpayer. Iffy…
Look away now if your name is Emily Thornberry, but Labour are to launch a special “White Van” election campaign bus. Guido had never seen anything like it, until he got this exclusive picture:
After the disaster of the pink van, it’s time for the “respect-mobile”.
Though hardly very patriotic: it’s a Merc!
Grant Shapps’ speech this morning bashing Labour’s “month of chaos” descended into a Q&A about Amjad Bashir. Asked by Guido about Amjad’s links with Respect, the Tory chairman insisted “I welcome anybody, regardless of where they’ve been in the past… with the exception of extreme parties”. Presumably George Galloway’s loony left mob aren’t “extreme”.
Shapps wouldn’t be drawn on how he feels about Bashir telling the Tories he had never had anything to do with Respect, telling Guido “Mr Bashir will no doubt answer any of your questions”. Despite “Mr Bashir”, as Shapps repeatedly called him, revealing the Tories had banned him from speaking to the press. As a third question came in Shapps protested “I can’t believe cynical hacks are believing this stuff. It’s pretty desperate”, insisting “yes”, it has still been a “successful” defection. Tempting fate with the Sundays sniffing around…
Amjad Bashir has been accused of lying about his links to the Respect Party after evidence emerged tonight apparently disproving his claims to have never had anything to do with the party. Earlier today, George Galloway accused Bashir of being a member of Respect in 2012, claiming he was deselected as a council candidate for the party in Bradford. This allegation was denied by Bashir in a conversation with Tory party officials this afternoon, where he “denied he’s ever had anything to do with Respect… Amjad denies it”. Yet tonight the Respect Party claims to have unearthed an application form filled in by Bashir to join the party. In a statement to Guido, Respect alleges:
The UKIP MEP who jumped from Nigel Farage’s party to join the Conservatives is revealed as a liar about his political past.
Amjad Bashir denies that he has ever had anything to do with the Respect party but an application form he filled in and is still held by the party proves that isn’t the case. The new Conservative MEP gives his date of birth on the form as September 17, 1952. But he also claims on the form that in the 1970s and 1980s he was a Labour party member and helped the then Bradford West MP Marsha Singh (now deceased). He also claims to have been heavily involved, and led a membership drive in Bradford, for Imran Khan’s Pakistan party the PTI (Party of Justice).
For Labour Bashir claims: “I attended ward and regional meetings, I carried out door to door canvassing on election days…I also carried out telephone campaigns.”
Respect’s Bradford West MP George Galloway hit out: “Not only has this man not got a shred of principle, his acquaintance with the truth is distant to say the least. He joined Respect, now he’s lying about it. I don’t know if what he is saying about Labour and the PTI is correct but his denial that he joined Respect, was selected as a candidate and then de-selected, is a shameful and damning untruth. If the Tories are prepared to embrace this man then I think it says even more about them than it does him.”
Galloway would not reveal why the party had decided to drop Bashir. “But probably for the first time ever I have to agree with Nigel Farage that there are grave concerns about things in this guy’s past.”
He added that not only was the application form in the party’s hands but at least five witnesses, who were part of his interview panel, were prepared to confirm that he had joined the party and then been sacked as a council candidate for Bradford Moor.
The date of birth on the application form is Bashir’s date of birth. The Tories have been approached for comment as we go to pixel…
George Galloway says of his former Respect candidate the UKIP MEP turned Tory, Amjad Bashir…
“Clearly Bashir does not have any real political principles or commitment, only naked opportunism and self-interest. He represents the revolving door principle in politics. The Tories are welcome to him because he will cause them embarrassment. Fortunately Respect was able to act before he did it to us.”