Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Tragic Death of Fiona Jones

I don't normally read the glossy magazines that accompany the Sunday papers, but I'm glad that I flicked through the Sunday Times Magazine this week. It carries a lengthy profile of Fiona Jones, the former Labour MP for Newark who died tragically earlier this year of chronic alcoholic poisoning. The author of the article, David James Smith, doesn't really dig up anything particularly new, but he comes close to accusing a senior Labour Minister of sexually harassing her. He doesn't name him, but it's pretty clear from the article who he means. And no, I'm not naming him. Read the article yourself.

The truly shocking part of this article is how she was totally ignored by the Labour Party, even after several cries for help. They regarded her as an embarrassment. Not a single Labour MP attended her funeral. Not a single one of her female colleagues could be bothered to go.
UPDATE: Please do not use the Comments to name names. I'll have to delete anything which might be potentially libellous.

50 comments:

Bel said...

I assume they would have stayed away from her funeral out of shame. Not even this shameless lot of politicians would have been brazen enough to turn up there.

And as for the so-called 'sisters' in the Labour party? The worst of the lot!

Anonymous said...

The treatment of this lady is bloody disgusting. I, like many people, have experienced that 'Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry, and you cry alone'. In the fast-paced success worshipping society we live in, when all is going well everyone wants you as a contact, when things aren't going so well, you soon find out who your real friends are. And as someone said, 'You don't have friends in the political world, you have allies'.

A salutary tale for looking after your real friends, and being able to distinguish them from facile, superficial Macchiavellian 'Apprentice' wannabes, whose only reason for giving you a pat on the back is to find the best place to stick in the knife in.

edwin drood said...
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Anonymous said...

The article reads like the ultimate conspiracy file. Anyway, she isn't the only MP thats been driven to Alcohol and she won't be the last- just look at everyone from George Brown downwards. Whats interesting though is the lack of feminine solidarity in the Labour Party- It's s truly shocking story.

Valleysmam said...

How sad was that and what does it say about the way we support our less bullish politicians

Anonymous said...

What is sad is that Iain feels the need to delete the name of the alleged sex pest even though we all already know who it is. Fear of the possible consequences?

Fear, loathing and the end of free speech are at large.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, believe me I would love to see this toerag get his comeuppance. But I am not willing to be a martyr to the laws of libel.

Anonymous said...

This woman has been portrayed as a victim throughout. I do not buy that. She could have gotten help but chose not to.

The victims, if their are any, are her immediate family who had to watch her disintegrate.

Alcoholism, as I know from experience, comes with other personality problems. The fact that no other MP attended the funeral may be for various reasons, but my guess is, it is probably embarrassment. Many may have felt it hypocritical to go. Alcoholics piss on people around them and abuse their friends. She would have alienated a lot of people long before they took the decision to cut and run.

Somehow, I get the impression that you have never had to live with an alcoholic, or take responsibility for the mayhem they create, but I would have thought that the very public Charles Kennedy affair would have given you a few clues.

Anonymous said...

anon 8.30

From what I heard her drinking got considerably worse after she was (allegedly) pursued and propositioned by a Cabinet Minister who then turned against her, and isolated her, when she rejected him.

David Boothroyd said...

The way the Newark Advertiser behaved comes out very badly in all of this. In fact it was much worse; the Advertiser deliberately decided, after 1999, never to cover anything Fiona Jones did, no matter how newsworthy.

canvas said...

I think the heavy drinking culture in the Commons has alot to do with this. This is an issue that politicians tend to shy away from. Why? Are they afraid of rocking the boat?

I don't want to be lectured to by the Labour Party about binge drinking if they won't face up to their own problems...

Anonymous said...

Very sad. I'm afraid this is typical of New Labour - they just use people.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of the story of a late night division in 1970s...One male member of Parliament, out of his mind, actually got on his knees in front of I think was Rennee Shortt and 'pretended to a dog'- she ran out very upset at all this, obviously. This does however, highlight a major problem. There are 19 bars in th House of Commons. 19 BARS! Drink should be banned on premisis

Anonymous said...

"There are 19 bars in th House of Commons. 19 BARS! Drink should be banned on premisis "

and an extraordinary number of MPs and ex MPs with alcohol problems.

Kris said...

Well Iain,

Remember your post wondering why people don't vounteer to become councillors and get involved with party politics. Here's your answer.

People don't stay involved in party politics out of a sense of public service. It's all about sad little inadequates getting their mitts on power.

Anonymous said...

Last time I read about it, the commons stocked £1.5 million worth of - taxpayer funded and subsidised - plonk.

At wholesale prices, thats the equivalent of, say, 37,000 bottles of spirits, 30-50,000 bottles of wine plus around half a million pints.

Ok, some of this is expensive, vintage stuff, which would reduce the quantity, but you get my drift. I'm surprised most politicians are able to make any time for running the country in their busy drinking schedules.

It's high time we put and end to politicians' fun and games at taxpayers' expense

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

No names, just what her husband said...

"Fiona told me MPs would be sozzled when they were making votes. She even saw one high-profile name tipping cocaine into his drink."

Anonymous said...

I hope Gill Dawn feels good. This is the saddest most repellant story I have read in a long time. A typical New Labour tale. I'm sure there's lots more to tell.

mutleythedog said...

They are really scum for letting her down. I had a friend who got into that kind of trouble...it never occurred to me to abandon him. Oh,but then I am a normal human being not a Labour MP...oh and I know who the Labour MP was -as does everyone else...come the revolution he will be up against the wall.

Anonymous said...

Claire Curtis-Thomas-
'You could sense a fervent panic in the Serjeant at Arms office along the lines of 'What if they all menstruate at the same time?' I was always being told by the Tory men that it was nice to have a better class of totty around.'

Beverley Hughes-
'The Tory benches shouted things across the chamber at you, about your appearance or your size. A lot of it came from the front bench, though it wouldn't be picked up by the microphones. It was shocking, but it was routine.'

Anonymous said...

Exposing this toe rag would be a service to humanity. Working out his identity is probably easier than looking for a needle in a haystack. (That's not libelous, is it?)

Sherlock Holmes said...

"Working out his identity is probably easier than looking for a needle in a haystack. (That's not libelous, is it?)"

I would hope that people who stopped voting Conservative because of alleged sleaze might consider this to be the last straw in terms of voting Labour as an alternative.

Time to tell Labour to hit the road, Jack.

completely nuts said...

I believe Jane Griffiths (Labour MP for Reading East from 1997-2005) blog carries more details.

Labour watch may also have something of interest.

Guido carried it and pulled it, and it is alluded to in a later post here.

Anonymous said...

II cannot understand Politics

Surely such a horrible man could not possibly look for rewards in the new , cleaner than clean Brown regime now, could he?
Under a new P.M., whiter than white?
We are having a strange time in Politics, and such a move would be the last straw!

Anonymous said...

Surely "goody-two-shoes" Gordon wouldn't gather around him a team that includes such a man who could behave so contemptably? Or be the leader of a party with MPs that act even more so?

No, the "son of the Manse" has more integrity than that. After all, the one-eyed man is the leader in the land of the blind.

Perhaps the rest of us need to open our eyes and see what this lot is like for ourselves?

jane said...
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SID said...

Has any one seen Guido £

billywhiz said...

The other shock to me is how this Labour cabinet can have 3 sexual harassers in it.

Where are all the sisters who should have driven the scum bags out?

sisters are doing it for themselves said...

Prim Dawn waited until she could extract maximum gain for her master in seeing off a John Reid challenge.

jean shaw said...

Suggest communications to G B via Treasury website , P.M website when he is apppointed or even through www.writetothem.com
This man cannot be allowed to have power again

Chris Paul said...

I'd guess that the "Not welcome" sign had gone up over the funeral?

I think you'll find that the NOTW outed the alleged harrasser of this woman.

Reported that myself with a picture of the demon headmaster. Though I have little confidence in the information really.

Did anyone see wife swap last night? I was working, honest, but it was on. Clearly in the booze some guy made some out of order remarks with a swapped wife. On camera.

Out of order, nipped in the bud, but things went downhill from there.

This is not a Labour party problem, it is a male MP problem on a cross-party basis. Also on a cross-society basis in boardrooms and offices. And fly-on-the-wall wallpaper TV too.

It is also a problem on blogs, and not at all on Labour ones AFAIK.

Jane Griffiths is a wild card.

19 bars is too many but the stock of booze is largely there for banqueting activities which are actually rather subdued considering the opportunities the HoPs present.

jane said...

I do think that we must get this into perspective. This woman appears to have had problems with an awful lot of people. Her local party, local press, local police, fellow politicians etc etc. I am quite sure that her problems with male colleagues have been similar to that of all other woman in the House of Commons. It was only a few months ago I read an article about the antics of some - specifically Nicholas Soames who made crude sexual motions when women were speaking in the house. I also believe that the cameras in the commons will now change to bring wider shots of the chamber which will stop all this sexual harassment from whatever side of the house it comes from.

Sadly, women in many professions have to deal with sexual harrassment. However, we do not all turn into alcoholics. Also, we may all delude ourselves about our workplace associates. Politics seem no different to any other career. Out of sight - out of mind with lots of acquaintances and very few friends.

I very much regret this poor womens life and how it ended. However, her political life was one part only and noone forced her to drink herself to death. This sounds cruel and it is not meant to be. Those loved ones left behind also have to seek reasons for their loss and also have to cope with personal guilt. At such times everyone is to blame - work associates, local health providers, the courts etc etc. Sadly, Fiona herself is to blame and at some time in the future peace may come to her family.

I do not think this is political issue. All MPs who have lost their seats have had to cope with depair and feelings of neglect. It is how this is coped with which determines their future.

David Boothroyd said...

People going on here about 'new Labour' would be well to remember that Fiona Jones was the 'new Labour' candidate, Gill Dawn and her friends were old Labour and left-wing.

Also please note that the law case had no merit whatsoever and had practically collapsed; the judge and jury plainly did not understand the law.

Anonymous said...

With trust in and respect for MPs in general and government ministers in particular at an all-time low, this really is the last straw. We all know who he is and it's high time he was publicly named and publicly shamed. But he will be rewarded with a top cabinet position, despite the GCF's avowed aim of restoring trust in politics. Time to emigrate?

Jack Straw said...

Hi.

peasant leader said...

I also believe that the cameras in the commons will now change to bring wider shots of the chamber which will stop all this sexual harassment from whatever side of the house it comes from.

Huh? It will stop when the perpetrators realise they have something to loose and not before. Examples need to be made to show that this sort of behaviour is just as unacceptable as homophobia and racism in a civilised soceity.

It won't stop because the HOC has wide angled shots.

Reid's alledged propositioning of Dawn Primarollo, and this alledged propositioning of Fiona Jones by a senior member of this and the possible the next Brown Government did not happen in the chamber.

Was she then shunned and bullied because she didn't aquiesce? How much would that have contributed to her decline - we eill never know. Jack Straw stated at a conference that Fiona was 'brilliant', which makes the waste of her life all the more tragic.

Anonymous said...

David said: 'People going on here about 'new Labour' would be well to remember that Fiona Jones was the 'new Labour' candidate, Gill Dawn and her friends were old Labour and left-wing.'

As someone who knew her since her teens, Fiona was as left wing as they come. Her left wing leanings concerned some in new Labour.

She once told me that she would nationalise the banks and the land given the chance.

She went along with new Labour because she realised that unless the Party was in power it would be nothing more than a pressure group.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, well she really knew how to make friends and influence people didn't she? So everyone was appalling except her? And a man asked her if she wanted to get laid? Oh the horror.

If she couldn't handle everyday experiences she should have got out of the kitchen. Oh wait, she did - the only, apparently, real job she had in her entire life - working in a pub. What a coincidence.

Have any of you dear people, who have obviously never met any real women, considered that perhaps everyone hated her, and perhaps for good reason? Let me guess, if only a man hadn't spoken to her she would never have taken to booze and everyone would have loved her and she would have lived happily ever after! And Santa lives at the North Pole.

Ralph said...

Isn't this just the latest example of Labour ministers sexually harassing women and being allowed to get away with it?

With all the news concentrating on Labour it might just be the time for someone to become 'a martyr to the laws of libel'.

john whitaker said...

A few edgy Sockpuppets on here today trying to defend the indefensible. They are all men of straw, and as such deserve to blown away.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1.17 - We've got to separate the issues. She may be all the things you said - but none of that justifies what appears to be the vilest use of power for sexual gain. To me, and i may be simplistic, it's as simple as that.

The Remittance Man said...

Are you really sure you want to become an MP, Iain? From this and previous posts it seems like they are not very nice people at all.

On a slightly broader note, the mention of cameras gives me an interesting idea. MP's seem to love the idea of being able to monitor the general public with cctv. How about we turn the tables and smother the Palace of Westminster with cameras? Every office, cloakroom, broom cupboard and corridor monitored 24/7 with picture and sound. Then we might get some idea of what the buggers get up to, both worthy and less so.

If nothing else MP's might get to realise just what it feels like on the streets of Britain nowadays.

Anonymous said...

The sexual harrassment was only part of it.

hat about the Police who were so keen to prosecute her they misled a judge to get court orders against her. Isn't that perverting the course of justice. Being dragged through the courts for a coppers satisfaction. We women have to put up with a lot of victimisation because of our gender, Fiona Jones had to put up with more than most it would appear.

1.17 Read the article in the Sunday Times again because you obviously didn'y take it in the first time.

Man of Straw said...

I wonder what Oona King made of it.

Ned said...

Another Shocking story showing how grubby politicians are....Whilst watching Ruth Turner et al Front Benchers supporting the White Paper for Building regulations today in her usual huffing & puffing manner,... all became clear .. .. Condo was right to be concerned!...

Anonymous said...

I think anon 1.17 is Gill Dawn. HOPE YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT

Anonymous said...

4.47 I think that she would have had trouble stringing that together. More likely to the unpleasant Andy Stanton who was cautioned for his nasty scribbling. It could even be Dave Barton, who after her death even had a go - writing tosh too! He was the previous candidate (an ex communist)who was consumed by jealosy when it looked like she would and, then did win.

Remember what the anagram of Newark is!

Make it plural and it sums up the grubby individuals who set out to get Fiona Jones and helped destroy her. I hope their sleeping tablets are enough to help them sleep at night.

An ex member of Newark Labour Party

Anonymous said...

"But I am not willing to be a martyr to the laws of libel"
Ian, this really is the last straw! You should jack this in if you don't want to reveal who this is.......

Anonymous said...

Very sad, but good to read the unvarnished truth - wartS and all.

Paleo said...

it just shows how the Labour party are all men of straw...