Monday, January 28, 2008

My Friend Derek Conway

To all those "courageous" anonymous commenters who have been baying for a comment from me on Derek Conway (not a single person put their name to their posts, which says a lot), let me say this.

I believe in friendship. I believe that true friends don't abandon each other in difficult times. I have a track record of standing by my friends when the going gets rough. I've done it when I knew it would cost me personally. I went on TV defending the Hamiltons over the rape allegations when people warned me not to as it could damage me politically. I publicly defended Edwina Currie over the publication of her diaries, when it would have been more politically expedient to join the baying throngs.

And I have no hesitation in telling you that Derek Conway is a friend of mine. Anything I have to say about his conduct, I will say to his face.

I don't 'diss' on my friends in public. End. Of. Story.

WARNING: I fully expect to get a lot of flack for this, but do me a favour, will you? If you want to post a comment calling me a hypocrite or worse, then at least have the courtesy of putting a name to your comment. Because if you don't, it won't get posted. I don't mind people calling me whatever they like, but have the guts to do it publicly rather than hide behind the coward's shield of anonymity.

151 comments:

Ed said...

It's when the chips are down you realise who your real friends are. Don't let the trolls get you down Iain - there are many people who enjoy reading your blog and agree with what you say but often those people are drowned out by the anonyhaters. Keep up the good work.

Tom Hatton said...

Well said! Loyalty is something which we need more of in politics.

Howard said...

You will have to learn to separate professional and personal relationships. Those that do not pay a heavy price.

barry monk said...

Iain, your loyalty to friends is to be commended, but even friends have to be told, politely and supportively, but told none the less that they have done something that is very wrong indeed.

This behaviour, in any other organization (certainly in the NHS where I work) would result in instant dismissal.

But it's worse. Read the full report; it says that this arrangement with his son was the same as he had previously made with his older son.

I am fed up,as a taxpayer, paying for MPs who claim expenses without receipts, or who run up travel expenses that strain credulity. Enough is enough.

And for Cameron, this is crunch time; he mustn't dither, he must withdraw the whip

If you really are a friend, ask Derek Conway to act with honour and resign from the Commons

Thatcher-right said...

No flack for you - you stand by your friends.
But, assuming the allegations are essentially correct, he has to go.
The Tories need to show that they know the difference between right and wrong.

Plato said...

Erm I'm lost Iain - I posted an attributal comment an hour ago and you haven't posted it ???

You have posted my reponses before so why not this time?

Disappointed.

Anonymous said...

While I deplore Mr Conway's actions, I can understand and respect your reluctance to publicly criticise a personal friend.

I hope you will similarly respect my (and other commenter's) wish to remain anonymous.

back cameron or get brown said...

Stand by your mate by all means Iain but the fact is this does not look at all good. It seems that once again the taxpayer has been taken for a ride and Cameron now has to show that, unlike Brown, he will not tolerate such conduct.

All eyes are on David Cameron.

Jonathan Sheppard said...

I was once told that the art of marriage is backing your wife or husband publicly in any argument they may have - but then being able to tell them you think they are wrong once in private

For what its worth I think the same is true of good friends.

Big Andy said...

Well, by saying nothing, you're almost saying it there yourself Iain.

Obviously you've declared an interest so presumably wont be commenting on this particular instance, and that's your prerogative: but, should not stiff sanctions be employed against such offenders - in short expense fiddlers - in general?

It's not just Mr Conway, but all the other MP's employing spouses and so forth.

The real problem is the system of expenses almost encourages MP's to abuse the system: no receipts; presumption of first class travel; mortgages paid on second homes; lack of scrutiny in office expenses; routine employment of family members, etc.

Really, if we were MP's and every other MP was at it, would we not come to justify to ourselves how we went about spending public money, if only through the notion that "everyone's doing it"?

Some of us wouldn't im sure. But the fact remains, it really should not be within our discretion.

I personally would be very disappointed if Mr Conway were my MP, and would look to deselect him if it was my CLP, but until we bring in proper scrutiny of expenses, such as "enjoyed" in the private sector, we won't get beyound this ridiculous situation.

I really don't understand that if captain's of industry can travel constantly, in and out of hotels, and also run their own (often substantial) offices, and every penny is accounted for, that this can not be achieved by MP's.

If an executive at a quoted company were to employ their kids within their personal office, and no one was able to independently verify what work they did over a four year period. I would like to think that executive would be dismissed.

Big Andy

Angela Dawson said...

Good for you, Iain. Few things make my lip curl more than seeing people dish the dirt on those they claim as friends.

On another point, though: what IS this fixation on anonymity? So I put a name to my post.. is it mine, or am I just a rose by any other name?

Iain Dale said...

Plato, I apologise if your post didn't get through.

Tony said...

Good on you Iain. These people only want your comments because they feel your views matter or they want to cause mischief.

For my part I have been critical of Derek Conway. But in your position I too would say what I had to say privately. It is about respect and decency. You have shown you exemplify both.

bebopper said...

I respect your point of view Iain and I wouldn't expect you to say anything else. In your position, I would feel embarrassed and I'm sure you are. At least you're not trying to defend his conduct.
I think he should resign. If not, Cameron should withdraw the whip.
He has been dishonest and there simply isn't any way back.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised - I understand it must be difficult with your friend on the receiving end of a bad story, but you can't expect not to get some flak if you ignore it, especially when you have laid into the Governing party for similar financial wrongdoings.

As for not printing anonymous comments, well that's just censorship. How are anonymous comments any less value to the debate? -so long as they're constructive points and not just blatant abuse. If I added my name it would mean nothing to you, anyway.

I say this all with total respect, am just surprised at your attitude in printing such an openly biased post.

Pat said...

Iain

10 out of 10 for loyalty but Mr Conway has undone the last few weeks of concerted pressure upon the Labour Party and its association with sleaze. What he has done is wrong and were he employed out of the House of Commons he would be instantly dismissed and criminal proceedings would be taken against him. If David Cameron does not take action against this shameful man then Ditherer Brown would be quite right to turn the tables. I doubt that Mr Conway will do the honourable thing as that would appear to be a quality he sadly lacks. Politicians wonder why the public hold them in such contempt; this provides the perfect answer. Sadly I suspect that he is but the tip of the iceberg of political greed and there are more than one or two in the House who are busy covering tracks and keeping a low profile. When you do speak to your friend you might like to mention that the repayment of the whole amount of taxpayers money rather than the £13000 would be the correct thing to do.

jd said...

Iain, I'm shocked, saddened, and inevitably led to question your judgement. How can anyone call Edwina Currie a friend?

Lollipop lady said...

Iain, don't be such a drama llama. You title it about your friend Derek but your post is all about you.

There is a big problem that MPs (and other so-called professionals) have adult appetites for holidays, comfortable homes, private education, but suffer only infantile reprimands when they break laws for which poorer people go to prison.

This is a particular problem for Cameron who is now dithering, weakening his ability to accuse Brown of just that.

Diablo said...

Derek Conway has not broken the law but he has been shown to use public funding in a questionable manner. He has apologised to the House of Commons.

However, in the current climate he will be perceived as just another MP (worse, another Tory MP) on the make. After the sport we've all had over Hain et al in recent weeks ("no ifs, no buts") it's hard to see how David Cameron cannot take immediate action to distance the Conservatives from this episode of "sleaze". After all it has been going on for at least four years according to the report on the affair.

I admire your loyalty to a friend, Iain, but be careful of providing a stick with which your opponents can beat you. At the very least I would hope that you counsel Mr Conway to consider his, and his friends' positions too.

Best regards

Johnny Norfolk said...

I am sorry Iain, But if I had done what he has done. I would have lost my job and been taken to court by my employer at the very least.Why should he be above the law friend or not. I think Westminster is looking so rotten we can smell it in Norfolk.

sockpuppet said...

Well I, for one, salute you. To paraphrase a great man; any old b*st*rd can stand by you when you're in the right. It takes a true friend to stand by you when you're in the wrong.

zendo said...

Iain---- your public defence of your friend is to be commended. However there was no need to bring up this topic if you were not prepared at least to say that you couldn't condone his dishonesty.
I hope David Cameron shows more spunk than you and deplores this greed! Now people can't say that labour are the only dishonest ones.
I am so disappointed.

Drusilla said...

I know well how you've stood by the Hamiltons, and that matters a lot - probably more than where we variously stand on the whole Cameron project.

Standing by your true friends can be seriously hard work at times, but the alternative is always worse in the long run - at least you know you've done the right thing.

It's for Mr Conway to decide what he needs to do - not you who needs to decide it for him.

Flavious said...

Well done for unreservedly offering your support to your friend Iain.

Personally though I think he needs to demonstrate the same honour as yourself and fall on his sword.

I tire of reading on an, it seems daily basis about politicians that acts as if above the law and beyond reproach, and no his apology is not sufficient imo.

Martin said...

"believe that true friends don't abandon each other in difficult times."

What a lovely sentiment, I would imagine that there are some people who class themselves very lucky to have you as a friend and I hope in return you have people equally reliable to depend on if the going ever gets tough.

Paul Burgin said...

Iain, most people who are quick to criticise, well most anyway, are usually ones who have not gone through what you are going through, or who put political expediency before friendship. Personally I don't like Derek Conway, I have heard from more than one source that he is a bully, but I admire and respect your stand

Newmania said...

Well he is not my friend and if he was I would either say nothing or defend him . Clearly there is no defence and your post could hardly make this clearer.
I `m not sure the tone is quite right here but I`m sure you mean well

Chris Harrison said...

You're not a hypocrite Iain. As with Labour, I fully expect Conservatives like Mr Conway to be corrupt, grasping venal creatures sucking up my earnings and handing them on to their indolent cretinous children. So no shocks here.

Ted said...

Iain, like many posters I agree with your sentiments but as a taxpayer and member of the Conservative Party I must say that Derek Conway has shamed his record of public service and his party.

Cameron should have withdrawn the whip or publicly admonished Mr Conway in the harshest terms, his friendship with members of the Shadow Cabinet notwithstanding.

I'm tired of MPs using the public purse as an additional income stream for themselves or their families. Conway admitted to misuse and is only protected by Parliamentary Privilege for suffering the consequences of his actions.

Adrian Yalland said...

Iain, I will put my name to it and criticise Mr Conway publicly. I criticise him because if he was a member of the Labour party, we would be all over him like a rash.

The point is, Mr Conway is at best guilty of being a bit slapdash with his record keeping, probably naive in thinking it didn't matter, or at worst, thinking he had the right to funnel our taxes to his son.

I want to believe that his son was working for him, and trust his assurances that he was. However, it leaves a bad smell in the nose, and illustrates perfectly why MPs of all parties give the perception of pigs gathering around the trough!

Your loyalty is admirable, but Mr Conway was foolish.

He should have the whip removed for a period of time, be asked to pay back a proportion the money he has paid his son(s), and furthermore, the rules should be tightened up so that MPs do not have control over vast sums of money without proper oversight! They simply cannot be trusted!

Gilbert "Gil" Gunderson said...

Coward. The man is a cheat and you know it. He should be deselected by his local party and have the whip withdrawn. You know it, I know it and lets hope "Dave" knows it too.

curly15 said...

Iain I fully respect the position you have taken with your friend Derek, but perhaps you let him know that fellow Geordie Tories up here are more than a little disappointed.

jailhouselawyer said...

"To all those "courageous" anonymous commenters who have been baying for a comment from me on Derek Conway (not a single person put their name to their posts, which says a lot)". Not true, I put my name to my comments.

"I don't mind people calling me whatever they like, but have the guts to do it publicly rather than hide behind the coward's shield of anonymity". Again, not true. In the past you have objected to me calling you both a hypocrite and a liar, even when I proved it on both counts, and you removed the link to my blog because you could not stand the truth. Moreover, you allow anonymous comments to attack me personally, this is after you posted stating that you would not tolerate this kind of conduct on your blog.

"I believe in friendship. I believe that true friends don't abandon each other in difficult times. I have a track record of standing by my friends when the going gets rough. I've done it when I knew it would cost me personally". I respect these qualities.

However, what Derek Conway has done is totally unacceptable for a person in a position of trust. I am aware that it is a common practice for MPs to fiddle expenses. But, we are not talking about the odd fiver on a taxi journey. Millions of pounds of taxpayers money is being defrauded by dishonest MPs. This is a big political story. You are the top political blogger. You could have merely reported it without passing any judgement. Instead you tried to get away with it without mentioning it. Even Newsnight passed over it so quick I could not believe it. But, at least, they did refer to it being on Michael Crick's blog. And, he states "almost everyone at Westminster knows there is significant abuse of the system". This makes it worse, not you, but that they are all at it or at least know that it goes on. This is fraud on a large scale.

This must stop. No ifs, no buts.

45govt said...

OK, fair enough.
You put yourself into the public arena Iain, you even hope for a Conservative party nomination. How on earth can you just say he's a friend, and I don't diss friends?
That's a total cop-out, and you know it. I would have some sympathy if you simply said he's a friend, and I am diappointed, and leave it at that.
The man (sorry) is patently a chancer who has been caught with his hand in the till. All the things your fellow bloggers have been doing to get rid of the Tangerine horror stand at nought while you condone the same or worse in our own. You should be bloody ashamed of yourself, because you've not only let yourself down, but all of us too. Your misplaced loyalty ensures we look no better than NuLiebour, just when we were starting to get the public to realise how corrupt they are.
Go hide your head.

back cameron or get brown said...

More revelations about Conway in tomorrows Mail (front page) Seems son number one received £40,000, son number two £32,000, and wifey was on the payroll too. This bunch aren't related to the Kinnocks by any chance are they?

Oh well, there goes any claim Cameron had over Brown to be on the moral high ground......unless Cameron grasps the nettle and sacks Conway without further ado!

Captain Lance Murdock said...

Yeah, this guy makes the government look positively straight. What an own goal.

Should make an interesting backdrop for PMQs.

Jeff Albertson said...

Iain,

I wonder if you or your readers you could help me?

My son is at a good red brick university and is looking for some well paid part-time work. He doesn't want to work in the Union bar, perhaps you know of something?

Adrian Yalland said...

Actually, with hindsight I think I have been unfair!

To the tax payer that is.

What he has done is just plain wrong, and he should repay it all - plus interest. An investigation should also be launched into the sums he is suppossed to have paid his other son too.

This money is not there to subsidise anyone's studies, and Conway's kids should have to pay for their education like anyone else, or their father should pay out of his salary - not my bloody taxes.

David Cameron should remove the whip, and he should be prevented from standing at the next election.

Kirk Van Houten said...

No ifs, no buts, if you get caught abusing your position of trust and expenses you should expect to have your collar felt, at the very least have your party expel you.

Brown much be laughing loud and hard on this one.

disorientator said...

If only the BBC and others would make a similar statement (we're not going to be nasty about our friends) every time they ignore a story that is very much in the public interest.

As for Conway, I have no doubt he's not the only one at it, but thats no excuse. If the facts are as they seem, then anything less than immediate removal of the whip and moves towards deselection by his local constituency, would be an outrage, and demonstrate utter contempt for the electorate and tax payer.

You don't steal £40,000 from your employer and get away with a slap on the wrist

Martin Prince said...

Labour 1 - Conservatives 1

Both own goals. Spectacular.

The Huntsman said...

Your position is a creditable and decent one and exactly what one would expect in friendship. Whatever your view of the matter is must remain between you and Mr. Conway.

When your friends let you down, that is particularly hard, but it does not mean you should abandon them in a difficult moment. And if hard words have to be said, they will come best from someone who is a friend.

I take a hard view, I am afraid, of what has happened. He has accepted having let his family down very badly, as he must, but he must also accept having let his party down very badly and let down those of us who would rather only have Labour targets at which to aim in the process of reining in abuses of expenses and allowances in particular and sleaze in general.

The report of the S&P Committee makes for unhappy reading as does Roger Winnet's post on Three Line Whip (http://tinyurl.com/ytfwmg) on how the matter was brought to light and how this was very evidently the tip of a Parliament wide iceberg. In that sense it has hopefully contributed to producing a fully open system of recording expenses and allowances such as that which the Scottish Parliament operates online.

Annie said...

I respect your desire to support your friend, but I think you are wrong in the nature of that support. If you would call for someone who wasn't a friend to resign in such circumstances (or have the whip withdrawn or whatever) then it is wrong not to take the same stance over Derek Conway. Otherwise how do you deal, say, with the mother who doesn't turn her son in for stabbing a fellow pupil out of the same misguided sense of loyalty? Justice means treating all individuals the same, whether they are members of your tribe or not. The support you give your friend should be personal - you can make it clear publicly that you think he has done wrong and should bear an appropriate penalty, but that you will still be his friend and help him in every way you can that doesn't conflict with what you think is right.

klaxon said...

From the report itself:

1. We have considered a memorandum submitted by the former Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards before he left office relating to a complaint against Mr Derek Conway, Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup, by Mr Michael Barnbrook. The Commissioner's memorandum is reproduced at Appendix 1.

2. Mr Barnbrook's complaint was that Mr Conway was paying his son £981 a month from his parliamentary staffing allowance while his son was still in full-time education at Newcastle University, and was refusing to indicate what work his son undertook on his behalf or how many hours he worked for Mr Conway.[1] The complaint was informed by an article which had been published in the Sunday Times on 27 May 2007

6. FC's contract of employment provided for him to work for seventeen hours a week.[7] He had originally been employed on a salary of £10,000 per annum, subsequently increased to £11,773 per annum, backdated to the start of his employment. His basic salary, equivalent to a full-time rate of £25,970 per annum, had remained at that level throughout his employment, and was within the pay range set by DFA for the relevant grade.[8] FC had also received, on his father's instruction, four one-off sums, namely, £2000 in September 2005, £5000 in May 2006, £1300 in January 2007 and £1765.94 in May 2007.[9] Mr Conway told the Commissioner that these sums had all been intended in lieu of annual salary uprating and as bonuses for work satisfactorily done.[10]

In essence, the Commissioner reached three conclusions—

* that Mr Conway authorised bonus payments to his son which exceeded the limit set by the House;
* that it is unlikely, on the balance of probabilities, that the work done by Mr Conway's son was so extensive, or his availability in term-time was such, as to enable him consistently to meet his contractual commitment to an average of seventeen hours a week; and
* that Mr Conway paid his son substantially more than an appropriate rate for the job he was employed to perform, having regard to his son's experience, qualifications and level of responsibility.

So, in essence, Mr Conway paid his son £13k a year for 3 years, and gave his a £10k bonus - nearly £50,000 of tax payers money. In return his son worked for his father - from his University in Newcastle! No wonder the committe said that Freddie was 'invisible'!

More damningly, the report states that even if his son had worked the hours, he was still paid way too much for the work he was contracted to do! "Even assuming that the contracted work was performed. FC's salary was sufficiently far out of line with what would have been justifiable to represent an unreasonable exercise of Mr Conway's discretion in relation to the Staffing Allowance, and thus was of itself an improper use of the Allowance and a breach of the Code of Conduct".

The committe disagreed with DC that his son had done the work.

the committee disagreed with DC that his son was entitled to the money, even if he had done the work.

the committee stated the salary was 'excessive'

The committee even went so far as to say that they didn't agree with DC's explanation of what exactly his son was doing, stating that the amount of time the work was said to have taken was in excess of what it would have taken to do.

In other words, having fleeced the tax payer for £50k, he was trying to squirm his way out of it.

Iain, have you read the report. You should do - maybe then you won;t be so quick to defend someone who has acted in such a disgraceful, illegal, immoral and unethical way, laundering funds to his son which were not his to treat so cavalierly!

Iain, you are defending the indefensible.

Londoner said...

Well, the real test for a Party member is (a) if I was a constituent would I be ringing up the local Party chairman and demanding that he be de-selected - YES and (b) if by some mischance be were still to be the candidate at the next GE, could I bring myself to vote for him - NO.

That said, I hope as a friend you are telling him that if he announces he won't stand again he might have a tolerable final couple of years in Parliament. If he doesn't it will be very unpleasant for him and very harmful for the party. It will totally confirm the view of much of the public that the problems over the Labour Party deputy leadership are systemic of the morality of our political class, not of one party. And, as has been pointed out, there does not appear to have been any personal enrichment involved with Hain et al, as there is here (and securing your son an income through University, whether he did any work for you or not, is effectively personal enrichment because it meant he didn't have to support him through Uni like most middle class parents do to a greater or lesser extent, whatever the loans that might be available).

This is quite frankly the most disgusting news about any Conservative politician since Lord Boothby and the Kray twins. Archer seeking the Mayoralty nomination when he knew he had perjured himself comes closest since but, having observed the man, one was not surprised. Cameron may have his reasons for not having immediately withdrawn the whip but where is that Party standards board please? And where are the men in suits telling him to announce tomorrow that he will not stand again.

Dan said...

I posted a comment in the previous thread and asked about the Conway story and I put my name to it. Dan!

Anonymous said...

Of course if he were a Scottish MP he would not have had to worry about subsidising his child's university education through the public purse via employment. Because the public purse would have already subsidized him through the Barnett Formula with free education.

Liz said...

Good for you - and it's pleasing to see that you're happy to stand by your friend.

I'm not his friend, though, and I think the whip should be withdrawn. It's very hard for the Conservatives to maintain the moral high ground (and it's essential that they do) in the current climate; I'm sorry for Derek Conway, and I'm sorry for his friends, but I can't really see any other proper way to resolve the whole thing.

The Remittance Man said...

Iain, I respect your decision to support a freind by not slagging him off publicly. As a human being that is a comendable trait, particularly when one knows it is likely to attract brickbats.

But I trust your loyalty would not lead you to blindly defend Mr Conway come what may. Politics is a harsh world and if it turns out he has misused public money for private purposes, then I am afraid he should suffer harsh consequences (as should all politicians who break the rules).

That being said, were Derck Conway be found guilty and be punished that should not stop you from being a freind and helping him to get through a difficult time.

On an encouraging note, one difference I have noticed between Tories and socialists is that Tories seem, on the whole, to be able to seperate the loyalty of freindship and party. For the socialists the ability to do this appears far more difficult. Looking at previous scandals from both parties, it becomes clear that the left cannot seperate the two when it happens in their own ranks and don't understand it when others show they can.
[/pontification]

Casual Observer said...

That you have chosen Derek Conway as your friend is fine by me. I just nhope your friendship extends to you being able to tell him in simple language that what he has done is wrong, wrong, wrong and that an apology in parliament is not going to cut the mustard. I hope that there isn't any more dirt about your friend to be splashed across the papers.

Best Regards

Ian
+++

Chad said...

No need to diss him Iain, but when you do see him, on behalf of the British taxpayer whom you have sought to represent, please would you ask him to return their 40k?

Will your loyalty stretch to not applying for his vacant seat in a few weeks?

cassandra said...

Dear Iain,

The mark of a true friend is honesty is it not?
If a friend falls short and hurts those around them and the ideals for which you stand, is it not the true friends duty to make that friend account for wrongdoing? A false friend will cover up wrongdoing while a true friend will expose it.
I fully understand your predicament and I feel for you BUT your reputation and that of your party now rests with how you deal with this.
You need to tell this person face to face that you cannot support such skullduggery and dishonesty and that your friend must accept the consequences of his actions for the greater good.
Iain, you have a greater loyalty and if you do nothing now, right now then you will regret it later.
You are not doing your friend justice if you say nothing and I think that deep down you know that this is true.
If Mr Conway is a real friend then he will accept that you must be true to your convictions.
Sometimes truth and justice are the hardest ideals to strive for and things like this are the truest test of integrity and honour we will ever face in our lives.

There is an old saying that has served me well,
Tell the truth and shame the Devil.

PS I am a great admirer of your blog and of you and I know that in the end you will see that I write this in the most respectful way possible.

CalumCarr said...

Many months ago i wrote this about Iain:

"Iain asked his readers if he was hypocritical for not commenting on the report which criticised David Cameron for using his parliamentary office for party political fundraising. The majority view appeared to be that Iain could write what he wanted in his blog and that he wasn’t being hypocritical.

Iain felt that because his was an avowedly Tory blog there wasn’t the need for balance between reporting Labour and Tory failings. He’s right. There is no need for balance but the blog can still be hypocritical.

Imagine that Iain criticised only Arsenal supporters for behaviour which was also exhibited by West Ham fans. This would be an example of hypocrisy. That Iain has said he is a West Ham fan explains the lack of balance but doesn’t remove the hypocrisy.
"

Change the subject the basic point is that he is being hypocritical. One can be loyal and still criticise publicly.

Rush-is-Right said...

When it comes to select total assholes as Parliamentary Candidates, Bexley Sidcup (former proprietor E Heath) has form.

The guy has to go. Period. And clear out the Bexley Sidcup management team at the same time.

Paul said...

Your loyalty is to be commended however he must go and he must go quickly what he did was theft and I would expect the police to become involved,how many times have we seen politicians stand up in Parliament issue an apology and then think thats the end of the matter,in this case it musn't be Cambo has to act swiftly and get him gone.

Simon Lamb said...

This spiral of relatively petty tit-for-tat accusations risks further diminishing Parliament and all MPs in the eyes of an already sceptical public.
MPs need to think beyond short term sectional advantage before they accuse their colleagues. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Womble On Tour said...

Iain, I appreciate that you're in a difficult position but David Cameron isn't. He has to put any personal loyalties to one side and deal decisively with what at best has been a very careless use of public funds.
I'm not bothered if people what to call you a hypocrite. But if Cameron doesn't act to withdraw the whip them they'll call him one too, and they'll be right.

d macdonald said...

Iain - my wife and I have a close friend who is a Conservative MP. We have both worked extremely hard over a number of years to make sure he won our constituency back from Labour at the last General Election.

We know that he is scrupulously honest, and has refused to take certain legitimate allowances and trips, not because he is wealthy (he isn't), but because he thinks it would be greedy to do so.

Your friend Derek Conway has severely tarnished my friend's reputation by association, and has damaged all the work being done by the voluntary Party across the country; and I would remind you that we just pay out all the time and only get back the satisfaction of having successful elections.

I am ashamed that Derek Conway is a member of my Party, and believe the whip should be permanently withdrawn from him. I also believe he should be removed from the Approved List before the next election, and I would be obliged if you would tell him so.

David from W5 said...

I tried to find out more about Derek Conway and went to his website. But it was 'under construction' in October 2006 and still is.

Barnacle Bill said...

Iain standing by your friends is a commendable trait, but there are times when friendship means telling them the truth about the wrong they have done.
Letting them know you will support them if they decide to take the honourable path to make amends for their mistakes.
But withdraw that support and friendship if they do not.
Far better to have one honest friend than an address book fully of dubious ones.
Regarding Cameron, he has lost the moment and my vote now, action should have been taken immediately.
Now he's just another politician in my eyes, not the future PM.

Vienna Woods said...

I believe that above all else, we have to ask if Derek Conway is such a good and long standing Conservative MP, why hasn't he himself acted promptly to save the good name of the party, instead of trying to hang on by his fingernails.

He may have been a good MP ( I don't know him) and also a good friend, but good friends don't behave like this!

On the other hand, many small businesses employ family members as a hedge against paying taxes and I know at least three general practitioners that employ wives and daughters as receptionists, who have never seen the inside of the surgery. If it wasn't for the disgruntled policeman's complaint I daresay this would never have come to light. I wouldn't mind betting that there are many more MPs' looking over their shoulder this morning.

Raedwald said...

The old Catholic adage of 'Hate the sin, love the sinner' may be the appropriate stance to take on this one.

There is little doubt that Conway acted corruptly, taking advantage of a position of trust to defraud the taxpayer of substantial amounts of money. His only honourable course is to resign his seat and repay the sum in full.

I'm sure his friends will rally round to help him settle into a suitable occupation outside Parliament and to support him during this period of transition.

zendo said...

So now your friend is to be investigated regarding payments made to his other son according to the BBC.
As I said previously, I admire your loyalty but I do question your judgement. None of my friends are liars or thieves and if they were, they would no longer be friends. Remember, we are judged by the company we keep.

Chris said...

Well done for standing by your mate. Loyalty is a rare thing these days, especially in politics.

That said though surely this is a case of fraud and the police should now be investigating this rather than letting matters rest with an apology and suspension from the House. If Hain et al can be investigated by the police for failing to correctly declare campaign donations then surely the misappropriation of public money should warrant their attention.

Anonymous said...

John Mann was on the radio raking the muck about Conway. This is just the thing to get the Conservatives back in the mire. How can you criticise Hain and others over donations when this idiot (and probably many others) has defrauded the tax payer of £72,000 at the very least.

These are the same people that wanted to protect themeselves from any scrutiny of their expenses and we all can understand why.

He may be your friend but he's still by anyone's definition a thief.

Paul Allkins said...

There is loyalty to a friend and there is understanding the difference between right and wrong.
It is clearly wrong to cheat on expenses like this.
It is clearly wrong to criticise Government Ministers when they are caught fiddling and to remain quiet when a friend is caught fiddling.
Misplaced loyalty has the effect of calling into question the integrity of future commentary.
Paul Allkins

Anonymous said...

It's not loyalty it's tribalism.

It's one rule for others and a different rule for 'one of us'.

What is the difference between Brown's support for his wretched band and this.

The public want these cases to be treated without fear or favour.

If Conway has done nothing wrong, then defend him, but whether or not he is a friend of yours does not come into it.

Your reaction bitterly disappoints me.

tapestry said...

If he was my friend I'd tell him to go, and have the honour of admitting his own fault and being able to accept the inevitable consequences.

There is no way his son could have carried out a part time job in London from Newcastle on Tyne. It's a farce trying to pretend otherwise.

Conway said in his apology to the House that no judgment of him from anyone else could be as harsh as he is of himself...for what he calls his 'administrative errors'.

In that case, he should unquestionably resign. Otherwise that claim is also laughable.

His position is morally no better than Peter Hain's. Apart from the evidence possibly not being strong enough to obtain a conviction in a court of law, there is little doubt that he has committed a crime.

He has fabricated a story, using falsehood to obtain a pecuniary advantage by deception - s.11 Theft Act 1967.

The problem is, Iain, that Cameron is also standing by his friends, and it stinks. David Davies would no doubt be making special pleading for Conway, for one.

If the Conservatives want to be taken seriously as a party with a mission to stop the corruption of British society, as they claim, the fight against corruption has to start right at the top. Or they can forget it.

Conway has to go.

.

HF said...

Conway has damaged the party and continues to damage it.

He needs to fall on his sword and announce he is not standing at the next GE.

The fact that he has not done this shows he has poor political judgement and has lost sight of what the right thing to do is.

As you are a friend of his I hope you tell him that and I do understand why it has to be private advice.

cassandra said...

The reason your party is unable decisively to break away in the polls from the most inept government for at least a generation is because people don't believe you've changed. Your dubious choice of friends - Conway, Currie and the Hamiltons - shows they're right.

ourman said...

Absolutely incredible. So where do you draw the line? What can people/MPs get away with just so long as they call you a friend?

Not for the first time you have to decide what you are. Are you a political commentator or are you a mouthpiece for the Tory party and a prospective PPC?

My name is here. I never post anonymously. Why don't you ban anonymous posting? Or is that just allowed when politicians from other parties do wrong? You are happy to see others slagged by anonymous morons but when you get an inkling that you are in the wrong you ask them not to.

I can admire your loyalty on one level but you can stand by someone as a friend but still acknowledge that they did wrong.

Conway is, at best, an acquaintance, you're acting as if he is your wife. This is a very weak post and I have no doubt that it will come back to haunt you.

pedro the lion said...

It's a difficult one Iain.
Friendship is undoubtedly important but you are a blogger and your friend has cheated taxpayers. I am relatively new to your blog but I presume from this story we will not get an negative stories on David Davies, not matter how newsworthy as he is a friend.
You failed to state that his actions are wrong which even he has done.
I'm disappointed but I now know this site has serious limitations, to know how limited it might be useful if you posted a list of friends about whom you will not comment, even when they have admitted to wrongdoing. Without such info there is no way to know there is no way to know if your silence is because something is untrue/ unnewsworthy or because it is one of your mates.

pedro the lion said...

ps I hope Cameron has more guts than to take your 'friends' line.
He must take action - probably by withdrawing the whip.

Mike Rouse said...

Allow me to state here that Iain does indeed stand by his friends and he is right to do so again this time. It's hard enough to gain and keep friends in politics, let alone solid gold ones like Iain.

Anonymous said...

I heard that the family Dog and the Cat were on the pay roll too Cat none too happy to hear that the dog was on 12.5k while the cat has had to slum it on a meagre 10k surely that is catist!

Unsworth said...

Iain,

Let's not mistake friendship - and support of one's friends - as condonement and defence of their actions.

Frankly, and in the light of yet further revelations, I think Conway should resign immediately. By so doing he would help the party which he apparently espouses, and would coincidentally focus the spotlight on many others in Parliament (on all sides) who are equally guilty of this interesting form of nepotism.

Blind loyalty is highly dangerous.

If we are serious about cleaning up politics then we should not be in the business of defending indefensible actions. Support of one's friends is (or should be) a private matter. Take a look at the the actions of the (real) friends of Profumo or Thorpe.

Paul Linford said...

Oddly enough I find your stance perversely admirable. At the end of the day, we are entitled to form our own judgements about people and just as I have decided, in the face of all those who tell me to the contrary, that Gordon Brown is a good and decent man, so you have come to the same conclusion about Derek Conway. Fair enough.

What I actually think about this story is that Conway has probably been unfairly singled out. That is not to condone his conduct, but I think there are a number of other MPs who have paid generous salaries to family members working in part-time capacities. What this could do is open a very large can of worms.

Anonymous said...

well said.

To be honest, this is your blog and you can choose to say what the hell you want - if people don't like it they can go elsewhere.

If it were my friend i'd do the same!

Sam Oakley said...

Iain, it's possible to defend the man without actively, or by your refusal to comment, passively condoning what he seems to have done.

I have some good friends who have done some pretty inexcusable things and if anyone asks me about them I'm perfectly happy to criticise their actions, I just ensure that I talk about some of the reasons for which we are friends as well.

If he really is your friend and you don't believe he's done anything wrong you should say so. If he really is your friend and you do believe he's done something wrong, why not defend his character whilst admitting that he made a mistake here?

Troll Patrol said...

For most students struggling through college there is the dismal prospect of a part-time "Mac Job" (pays £7.50/hour). For the lucky few there are "Con Jobs" (£12.40/hour).

Twig said...

MP's should be subject to the same rules as the general public. They should provide proper receipts for all expenses, which should be properly scrutinized and they should fill out a P11d.
If they employ family members they should justify the cost.
It's easy for MPs to make laws for other people from which they themselves are exempted.

Enough is enough!

Anonymous said...

From Victor Southern

Iain - I am afraid that this Conway affair is just another nail in the coffin of professional politicians. His conduct is not defensible - I don't mind if you still call him friend but please do not try to excuse his conduct.

I would like to see the Met investigate this matter, to see the whip withdrawn and to see his constituency party deselect him.

I am sorry for those who feel that he has not committed a crime and that an apology and 10 days suspension will atone. If you think that way you have lost your moral compass.

It is high time for a fierce clampdown on MPs and their expenses with full disclosure beng demanded evey 6 months - and published for all to see. Those who are honest have nothing to fear - most of them will be forced to reform their ways.

We really cannot have an assembly of law-breakers acting as our law-makers.

judith said...

It seems quite clear from the Parliamentary investigation that Conway did not commit an 'administrative error'.

He knowingly committed fraud, Parliamentary privileges be damned.

You, Iain, have not condoned that fraud, but despite the fact that he is a friend, you do have a duty to chastise him for his dishonesty and the harm he has done to our Party and to politics, if you wish to continue to be taken seriously as a political commentator.

Paul Radbourne said...

Got to say this shows some hypocrisy.Iain bays for the blood of Labour when he perceives they are doing wrong,yet claims friendship when a Tory crony is accused.

Innocent until proven guilty is a good maxim;but needs to be applied to both sides.

Unsworth said...

What should be understood by those posting complaints about Conway is that it is perfectly legal for MPs to 'employ' family members. Conway fell foul of Parliament by declaring that his son was working for him whilst he was away at university.

Even Mr Speaker Martin has his fragrant wife working frantically to help him. And, God knows, he needs every bit of help he can get.

We can expect new legislation shortly to allow MPs and their relatives to financially gain from being in two different places at the same time.

Next, allowances for walking on water and changing water into wine will be urgently considered by a select committee.

strapworld said...

Iain,

In the police I served with many officers who turned out to be 'bent' One in particular was a good friend of mine and his alleged criminal activities came as an awful shock to me.

I acted under police discipline cases as the 'friend' to many police officers in most forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland facing very serious dsiciplinary charges.

Individually each one was a good person. Indeed had been good coppers. BUT each had BETRAYED the trust of both colleagues and public.

Mr Conway has betrayed our trust in politicians.
A true friend, Iain, is a person who tells their friend the awful truth.
He will get many stabbing him in the back - a friend comes up front!

Show you are a true friend. This cannot be condoned. This is a disgrace. That Cameron has not withdrawn the whip shows a real lack of leadership.

Conway has to be shown the door ....quickly!

The public will not forgive THE PARTY if he is not.

tapestry said...

Who said that countries don't have friends - only interests? so it is in politics. it is not in David Cameron's interests to keep Conway.

Friendship belongs outside the door of politics. Politics should be about right and wrong, not which criminals are allowed to get away with it because they're your mates.

If you want to collect nice friends, join a bridge club or something.

Anonymous said...

I loved 'lollipop lady's comment about a 'drama llama' !!

By all means stick up for your chums [nothing worse than a fair weather friend], but that does rather preclude you from slinging mud at the likes of Peter Hain.

Otherwise I think you are just being guilty of 'double standards' I'm afraid. By the way, there is a fab Simon Hoggart article today which covers both this topic, and Andy 'Bonkers' Burnham.. - Culture?

The only 'culture' that boy has seen is in a pot of yoghurt..

Unsworth said...

@ Anonymous 10:53 AM

The only 'culture' that boy has seen is in a pot of yoghurt..

And a nasty case of Thrush, no doubt.

Julian the Wonderhorse said...

Iain, a slight piece of hypocrisy here.

This man has "confessed" after being caught taking public money. How and why is this not fraud or theft?

If he had been Labour you would have been baying for blood, but as he is a friend and Conservative - one of the tribe - your loyalty overrides your common sense.

With this "it has always gone on" mindset, is it any wonder people are turned off by politicians?

Anonymous said...

Come on Ian - Whilst I respect your loyalty to your friend looks like you'll have to leave it to the rest of us to comment as we obviously are BUT this is doing the Tories no good at all - In my office the most repeated comment today is 'they are all the b**** same - NOW lets see what Cameron does about it' - Don't dither and sort it by PM's Question Time on Wednesday Dave and pull the rug from under Brown.

schnauze voll said...

You can turn anonymous comments off if you object to them.

But you don't because you want the traffic.

Although there are certain things anons ought not to say, such as anything bad about Mr Dale.

Who is very happy to throw all the mud he can find at Labour and Lib Dem MPs.

But will never rock the boat for Tories.

No matter what they have done.

Because he's such a decent bloke.

And wants to be one himself.

Giles said...

I watched the BBC news item on Mr Conway with my fiancee last night. She's a floating voter and her comments made it clear that this episode is likely to have a significant impact on the "sleaze" agenda. To her, and no doubt many others, paying your son's tuition fees from public money is far worse than failing to disclose freely-given donations.

Praguetory said...

I want him sacked and the whole 'can of worms' opened.

Anonymous said...

45govt said...

"How on earth can you just say he's a friend, and I don't diss friends?
That's a total cop-out, and you know it. I would have some sympathy if you simply said he's a friend, and I am diappointed, and leave it at that."

Exactly.

Sorry Iain, but you cannot seek to ignore a story like this and not be seen as hypocritical. You do not have to diss your friends but you cannot just ignore it without losing credibility.

As for Mr Conway, I just think it is sad and a waste. The new allegations regarding his older son appear to have no merit at all as that one seems to have actually done some work. But to 'employ' his younger son in return for nothing at all (and have no means of obscuring the facts) was madness.

I wish you well Iain but you need to improve your political judgements.

Mike Evans said...

Iain

Peter Hain is my friend.

You were quite happy to dance on his grave.

Mike Evans
Neath

tyger said...

Hmmmm.

I don't know Iain. Far be it for me to tease you, but when you build a career as a commentator, not to mention that you take such obvious delight in ripping into the current government, I sort of think you should pass comment on whatever story comes along. Regardless of personal involvement etc.

However, it's also your blog and your content, so who gives a flying shit what commenters demand. Publish whatever you want.

MattLondon said...

It must be awful to have a friend in this position and I don't blame you for not wanting to join in a public hounding, BUT these are massively serious allegations, for two reasons. First, this sort of thing is not forgiven when ordinary people do them. We get sacked, lose our pensions, get sent to prison. If our elected representatives do them they should expect to be treated at least as harshly as their electors would be.

Second, the Tory party has started to emerge from 15 years or so of being associated by many electors with personal dishonesty and greed on the part of its MPs. To leave this to the "bad boy, don't do it again" discipline which is all the Commons seems to offer risks putting the public view of the Party back to the bad old days.

My view is the Mr Cameron should suspend Mr Conway from the Parliamentary party until the position on the second allegation and any conseuent legal issues have been resolved. If at the end of it it is decided that Mr Conway WAS innocent of serious wrongdoing, then perhaps he might be let back in - but at the moment, on the admitted facts, it seems most unlikely that he can be.

Sorry for anonymity Iain- but if you want to know who I am i'll email you my details.

tory boys never grow up said...

Defending your friend is to your credit - what you said about David Putnam when he did the same for Ruth Turner was not.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

First of all I posted a comment, as ww, and it did not show.

Your fulsome outburst of solidarity with Derek Conway is puzzling to say the least. You cite Edwina and the Hamiltons, and yet in those cases there was no question of dishonesty - merely a lack of taste in one and a criminal libel in the other, during which I too supported the Hamiltons. By coming out in support of Conwy you have devalued any support you may have given to those more deserving of it.

But this is a straightforward case of theft from the public purse, and Conway wouldn't dare challenge the assertion in court. The report into this is damning; the man has blatently fiddled his allowances.

The damage this has done to the Conservative party will be great, but the damage to the esteem in which politicians generally are held ( a favourite hobby horse of yours) will be worse.

Conway is a typical old time Tory, a rich bastard with his snout in the trough - our trough, thoroughly pro the war in Iraq and quaintly reticent about gay rights, despite his son being "blond, bouncy and one for the boys" A brief delve into his other expense claims reveals a tally that is just not commensurate with his constituency distance from Westminster.

How you can associate yourself with this dismal glib tale of moral turpitude I do not know.

Call Me Dave said...

Iain,

It's fine for you to stand by your friend, even when they fail as badly as this.

But I just cannot support the Tories anymore. If Conway were my friend, I'd tell him to resign and repay the money. There are limits and he's gone far beyond the acceptable.

As for that Drip in Charge, Cameron... God help all of us when he wants to rip into Labour's funding crisis and be such a limp member when he needs to take action. I hate wet people.

jailhouselawyer said...

Praguetory states: "I want him sacked and the whole 'can of worms' opened". For once, I find myself in complete agreement with him. Is there a doctor in the house?

Loved the blog, but time to go said...

Iain,

Your position is absurd. It may not be hypocritical but it is certainly self-delusional.

Thanks for the memories

Hugh Jorgen said...

In his fulsome apology to the Commons, Conway said (producing onion) that he had let his family down.

This shows that he just doesn't get it. His family were in on the scam, and in the real world the rest of us inhabit, would be arrested and questioned as accessories.

No, He has let down his Party, his Constituency Association, the people who voted for him and taxpayers in general - none of which featured in his apologia.

If, having seen the damage he has done, he does not fall on his own sword, he is a man without honour.

zendo said...

Well done David Cameron for expelling D.Conway!
You have shown Brown what he should have done!

Wrinkled Weasel said...

If Cameron does not withdraw the whip I will no longer consider voting Tory at the next election.

Why is he dithering?

Andy D said...

I'm sorry iain, I can't agree with your position. Regard of your friendship with him, it's clear that made a misuse of public money for his families gain, and regardless of intent or forethought, it's a very serious thing.

If a similar thing happened in any business, then there would be serious questions asked for the individual in question. It's equivalent to a Tesco's store manager employing his children without them actually doing the work...

I personally think this raises the entire issue of politicans expenses. There should be an independant auditing body to ensure than public money is not mispent, with the authority and duty to audit MP expenses, instead of relying on the word of honour.

I'm sure than Mr Conway is not the only one on both sides of the house which is guilty of some errors regarding expenses....but he is guilty.

Alisdair.gray said...

Ian,

Thank you for reminding people how hideous the tories were.

Troll Patrol said...

Wrinkled Weasel,
Conway fils gay? I think not - why only in this lunchtime's Evening Standard I saw him in a photo with West End musical theatre star Martine McCutcheon. Oh, I see.

BexleyConservative said...

Maybe you should be wiser in your choice of friends?

Carl Carlson said...

Bloody hell, who knew it but Dave may have some balls. Whip has been withdrawn. Will Guido be doing a nice little cartoon showing him scalping CONway in the same way he did Hain?

Dan said...

You are perfectly right to stand by our friend in public.

In private I hope you have enough sense to be telling him he has to go, as the storey unfolds it seems the son could neither produce any evidence whatsoever of work done or name the other staff.

It is then alleged this has been going on for years with the previous son.

Bottom line it is fraud and potentially a conspiracy to defraud between father and sons.

Paddy Briggs said...

"Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty."

Sicilian Proverb

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Just heard the whip has been withdrawn.

It was the only thing to do, the right thing to do. The man is a crook. Cameron has shown some guts and for that, I (gulp, choke,) commend him.

SG said...

Iain, I understand your loyalty to a personal friend. This is a commendable and rare quality.

However, our party leadership cannot allow themselves the luxury of personal considerations in such crucial circumstances. The reputation and fortunes of our entire party are at stake here, not to mention the strong principles and values which we should uphold.

The rules must apply equally to everyone, and the bonds of friendship cannot be used as a means to escape judgement.

Anonymous said...

Iain
Is your position Labour corruption -BAD ! Tory corruption -NO COMMENT ?

Tim said...

"If you want to post a comment calling me a hypocrite or worse, then at least have the courtesy of putting a name to your comment."

Don't I always?

"I don't mind people calling me whatever they like, but have the guts to do it publicly rather than hide behind the coward's shield of anonymity.

Iain, you're a hypocrite.

Why?

Because you've allowed this kind of thing and worse on your website from anonymous contributors many times in the past... the only difference being, they weren't talking about you.

Savonarola said...

Iain you just don't get it. Conway is a fraudulent snout in the trougher(like many MP's). He and his type diminish the body politic at a time when the majority of the population have no respect for politicians' ethics - an oxymoron.

Birds of a feather etc.

Newmania said...

He`s gone ...thank god...what a pathetic preening fraud and that is now all he will ever be . I wonder if his sons have to go and work in Tescos now .

His Eminence said...

I take it you objected to Conway's anonymous comments undermining Dave last summer! Dont make me laugh. You were happy to post patronising guff about the new Tory candidate in Widdy's seat when she ran into a little trouble.

Anonymous said...

As a German speaker, I am surprised you wrote "flack" rather than "flak". No matter, Derek Conway is a disgrace who deserves an 88mm shell up his arse for what he did. I am glad that Dave the Chameleon has withdrawn the whip, anything less would have opened him to ridicule at PMQ's tomorrow. I don't think the political class really get how deeply they are held in contempt by the general public. They are preceived as being corrupt and out to feather their own nests. With men such as Conway in Parliament, how can one deny it?

freedom to prosper said...

Stand by you mates. I thought all politicians and buisness people paid members of their families for "Help"

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Brief pause while Iain posts "My friend Nigel Waterson", followed by, "Suharto liked to press wild flowers", followed by "Pinochet always bought his round" and "Jeremy Thorpe may have enjoyed the occasional rent boy but he loved animals"

Well done for taking the fall, Iain. The blog is fun again.

Vienna Woods said...

I feel that the problem is that Conway should have reacted sooner. The damage has been done and because of the delay it allowed all sorts of trolls and other worthless morons to jump on the bandwagon to protest. The whole nasty experience was bound to happen sooner or later and we now have to recover our hopes from the wreckage. Let's face it, Dave has always been a bloody disaster waiting to happen! I've held my tongue until now in blind hope that he will act in any way normally, but that is history. He is weak, dithering and has made a king sized error in not acting sooner to persuade Conway to go immediately. Please, no one bother to tell me that he has, because he clearly has not. He's not going to rescue the party and it's blatantly clear for all to see. For heaven's sake let's do something about it!

Valleys Mam said...

Ian, da iawn, well done you I respect you for that, and I hope you realise that most people worth thier salt would too. The others -ignore them,best deleted.

canvas said...

He can be your friend - but he is wrong.

Can you ask your mate for my money back please? I saw his son in the paper wearing a very nasty fur coat. I hope my tax money didn't pay for that god awful thing on his back.

Paul Radbourne said...

I love the hypocrisy on this blog.All the counter for the comments goes up the negative comments are tucked away (conveniently) where most casual readers would miss them.For example,my last comment was 10.45 today,hidden way down the list,I thought newer comments appeared first.

For shame Iain.I took you to task at the last election for being more of a spin doctor than the Labour lot & here you are at it again.

Cameron had some balls & withdrew the whip.Shame you cant be the same

Iain Dale said...

Paul, don't be such a prat. I have no control over this. The comments appear in time order, as they always have done. If you want to have a go at me, fine, but at least get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

Iain Dale - the enemy of sleaze! NOT ANY MORE.
Look in the mirror and the only reflection you will see is "total lack of moral fibre".
If it's only sleaze when it isn't your "mates" involved, then you have lost your credibility.
Watching Conway smirk after "apologising" to the House was a slap in the face to every taxpayer in this country.
After tearing into Labour for their financial shenanigans, I am appalled at your "sitting on the fence" stance.

STUART LAW

Jane said...

He stole my tax money. There is no difference between him and a common or garden fraudster.

Dave did the right thing to get rid.

Don't go to the dark side please!

David Anthony said...

I read blogs for a personal touch on current affairs. If he is your friend, then you have every right to decline to comment.

What will be said will be said ... in private. I admire that. Regardless of whatever the friend may have done.

Womble On Tour said...

I have to say that I don't get this anonymity bit. Pretty much everyone writes under a pseudonym and even those that write under a name could be giving false ones. Why are you so would up about people who write under "anomynous" ?

Anonymous said...

Is it true Conway is also claiming an allowance for a second home when his constituency is only 12 miles from Westminster?

STUART LAW

Answer: said...

Looks like Independents to save Queen Mary's Hospital are going to take on Derek Conway at the next general election a la Martin Bell. www.faect.blogspot.com

Johnny Norfolk said...

Loyalty works both ways. What he should have done is resigned the party whip to be loyl to his party friends, but no, he had it done for him.
To us in the real world it just looks like one rule for us and a different rule for them.

Cameron was right to take 24 hours to consider the matter, and has now done the right thing unlike Brown who has dithered and avoided makin any decision.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Oh well at least some good has come of all this in that Paddy Briggs has posted his first comment I agree with, but then it was quoting someone else

Anonymous said...

"unlike Brown who has dithered and avoided makin any decision."

The word "dither" might just be working for Brown not against him. Pause for reflection, consider the views of others, then decide. Much better suurely? I "dither" all the time at work - if I didn't I'd probably be out of work sharpish, and deserve to be. I think most voters are the same, and will appreciate a fellow "ditherer" in Number 10.

Jasedase said...

Hi Iain. I respect your loyalty to a friend, and the world (and political world) would be a much better place if there was more of it. I'm sure you'll tell Mr Conway privately what a twit he's been (to put it politely), and while that's finished his political career, i hope he learns from this and moves on. One good thing about this was Cameron showing good leadership - not being bullied by the media into acting hastily, but sleeping on it before doing the right thing. Good for him, and good for the Conservatives. Personally i could throttle Mr Conway: just as we're exposing the Labour Government for the sleazebags they are, his antics do nothing than give our opponents a very welcome distraction! As i say, i hope he learns from it, and i hope other Conservatives realise there are people out there paid to trash them in any way they can, so for goodness sake act in a right and proper way - as i'm sure the vast majority do.

Anonymous said...

Womble On Tour said...

"Why are you so would up about people who write under "anomynous" ?"

If it were me, I'd just be using it as a convenient smokescreen to hide behind whenever I didn't want to talk about something.

Mark said...

Well, the stand on anonymity is poorly chosen on several grounds - partly the hypocrisy of not demanding the same standards for comments against labour MPs caught in the cookie jar, but mostly because you have no mechanism for checking that any claimed name is real. Appearance over substance may be political stock in trade, but doesnt work in identity audit applications.

However, I'd also question silence as the appropriate response of a friend to these sort of attacks. Aren't you just leaving the field open to the more rabid commentators? Wouldnt a friend serve better by covering the facts from a more sympathetic stance? I find myselt tempted to infer from your silence that the actions are utterly indefensible, perhaps not the impression you want to give?

zendo said...

Well said Jasedase. I also would like to congratulate Iain as it must have been very difficult for him to publicly support his friend and that is to be commended.
I am also delighted that David Cameron took the action that he did as I'm sure that labour were ready to pounce at PMQs and their balloon was burst.
BROWN is still not answering questions except for the ones he has planted himself. He is a disgrace.

ukipwebmaster said...

Ian,
This guy may be your friend but do you approve of what he and his family have done and more importantly what other MPs might be doing as well?

Alex said...

Can we have some context on this?

I mean, trousering 40k of public funds is not enough to forfeit the respect of Iain Dale. So what is?

Ending up in the hands of the constabulary after a brawl with your kids, like Waterson?

Beating your wife like Andrew Pelling? Paying alimony out of your parliamentary allowances like James Gray?

tom p said...

I think it was William Law who first said (in the 1720s) that 'a man is known by the friends he keeps'.
Hamiltons, Conway; and judging by your mention of the Hamiltons, it seems that you stayed friends with them after he had been outed as a corrupt sleazebag.
As your cyberfriendships show, you're clearly a man of very poor taste when it comes to friendship.

Iain Dale said...

Tom p, I became friends with the Hamiltons in late 1997, after he ceased to be an MP.

I really don't care what you think of my friends, just as I am sure you don't care what I think of yours.

cfr said...

I've not read the comments Iain, and I'm late in coming to this post but I have this to say:

1. For an MP, for a party, I believe this has been handled well. It is a sad circumstance, but in other paid employment the P45 would be imminent if the evidence matched the allegations.

2. For the circumstance of personal friendship: well, you find out who your true friends are when you're down for whatever reason. And those friends, who make the grade and who matter most in your life are true friends. People can err and make mistakes in all walks of life, but their friends will want to forgive and see a return to the balance and standards they previously saw in their friend, as well as correction for their actions. The friend that remains a friend throughout all this, is indeed a good friend - of the best sort.
Being so, at such a high public level, can be at least risky, at most suicide. But where is humanity in all this? Humanity can be found in friends.

Good on you, Iain, for your continued support of your friend. The fact that Conway lost the whip and has now effectively resigned is also a matter of honour. If this happened in any other circle, a sacking would have been immediate.

But, I feel, Conway is not a lone source of this type of greed and advantage, if that's what it is, and I suspect so, given what I have read in the media. This highlights a need to get expenses verified before payment, and we, the members of the electorate have to ask "Why not, before now?"

Get elected and get an open cheque book? Not in this world and time thanks.

Ron Knee said...

I too had a great friend who committed a few indescrepancies but I chose to stand by him regardless of what he had done. It was a pity that Adolph suddenly dissapeared, perhaps it was the poor comment from the media which made him choose to do himself in.

Such a sad lot, these media types.

innit?

Alasdair Nairn said...

"true friends do not abandon each other in difficult times". These are difficult times? For who? We usually speak of 'difficult times' as occasions when something unfortunate and unexpected happens to us. If these are difficult times for the somewhat less than Honourable Mr Conway this is a definition of the phrase I am not familiar with.

Shouldn't we speaking of DC's secretary, who had her salary halved [she had to claim benefits to supplement her wage]. Difficult times for her - I have problems seeing the connection there.

If loyalty, friendship is something extended and then maintained blindly no matter what happens, keep it. Because someone is a friend doesn't make what he/she does automatically right.

Iain Dale said...

Er, did I say it did?

zendo said...

You are SO right Alasdair.
Conway is a despicable fellow for giving his lazy sons money for nothing. What kind of example is this -----a parent teaching his kids that dishonesty pays.

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