Monday, September 25, 2006

Is that really the best you can do?

The Mail on Sunday has managed to dredge up some allegations of sleaze involving a Labour minister on the eve of the conference. Apparently, Liam Byrne - the Home Office Minister - owns some shares in a firm which has successfully bid for a number of contracts with police forces. The story made the front page of the paper, but has since slid well down the running order online.
If the company continued to grow and was floated on the Stock Exchange, their value could soar to millions of pounds

Ah, so the company isn't quoted yet, so these shares don't actually have a value. Sure, IF the company ever floats, then Liam would be in line to make some serious money. But then, in the first six months of the year, the company turned over £1.4 million - which sounds a lot, but as a half-yearly figure is a drop in the corporate ocean. Turnover is not the same as profit. In any case, he declares his consultancy fees and share ownership in the Commons Register, so he's not making any attempt to hide his involvement.

At worst, he was unwise not to divest himself of the interest when he was appointed to ministerial office, but this isn't a serious story. Liam's a rare breed - a competent and respected minister and also a top-notch constituency MP, which is partly why he boosted his majority at the last General Election.

To show that Bonking Boris isn't the only friend of Cameron who can play away from home, Zac Goldsmith has apparently been a naughty boy - he's been discussing poker and energy conservation by a 22-year old Rothschild heiress rather than his impressively named wife Sheherezade. Elsewhere, the Tory MP James Gray has admitted having an affair while his wife was ill with breast cancer. He's now left his wife and has received a broadside from the husband of his mistress who comments that:
'he pompously says that 'some political opponents may call on me to resign but that is to seek to take party political advantage out of somebody else's private life'. In 18 years at the criminal Bar, I have never read such sanctimonious, self-serving drivel. To call it spin is to insult even Peter Mandelson. Given Mr Gray's treatment of his own locally-popular wife (let alone my family) there must be a large body of staunch Conservative voters who would love to be able to vote for a decent and faithful candidate, rather than the one they have got. In other words, many calls for him to resign may well emanate from his own party and not from political opponents.'

The local party are reported to be considering their options.

1 comment:

Praguetory said...

These guys are small fry. There are plenty of similarly obsure people of all political persuasions who have marriage difficulties. Is there a wider political point you want to make?