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LibDems in Telegraph

May 12th, 2009 Posted in UK Politics, Uncategorized by


Allegations against the Liberal Democrats seem – on early indications – to be very limited. They haven’t been able to find any more than a refurbishment of  Ming Campbell’s property in London (which he rents and has a contractual obligation to keep in good order) and some very minor supposed infraction by Julia Goldsworthy.

If there’s not much more than this, Nick Clegg has license to go for the jugular of the political establishment.

More to follow….

10.20pm UPDATE: The Telegraph focuses its splash on Andrew George and whether his flat was effectively used by his daughter rather than by him. Other claims – against Huhne, Opik and Clegg are surely de minimis.

18 Responses to “LibDems in Telegraph”

  1. Angela Harbutt Says:

    I had the honour of working for Ming Campbell and know him to be a man of the utmost integrity. He made a robust and honest declaration to a local newspaper about his expenses last month. Read it here.. or go to his website

  2. Paul Ankers Says:

    Its like Chinese water torture now. People (my dad) are getting angry about the trouser press going to the wrong home. It wouldn’t have made the paper on Thursday.
    Wait till I tell him about Lembit!
    The House of Commons seemed to have Andrew george’s cards marked too.

    No flipping so far……

  3. Mark Littlewood Says:

    I think this is the Telegraph’s intermission. I can’t believe this was the finale.

    I haven’t forensically examined every jot, dot and comma of the charges against Andrew George – but the allegation seems to amount to not a huge amount more than the fact that his daughter visits him regularly.

  4. Darrell Says:

    The Ming one was slightly more serious because you cant plausiably argue that duty to upkeep equates to spending nearly £200 on cushions. I’m glad its finally being clued into though that this is a witch hunt…

  5. Mark Littlewood Says:

    The Telegraph unveiling a week’s worth of revelations. This is it’s very weak – and slightly embarrassing – “LibDem day”.

    Quite possibly Brogan and Porter have even had the day 9or at least a few hours) off – unsurprising, as they have been working round the clock for the last week at least (and Andrew Pierce seems to be on Telegraph media duty tonight).

    My best guess – but no more than that – is that the finale will be spectacular, incontrevertible and probably involve about 2 Labour and 2 Tory MPs.

    You read it here first.

    If you’re worried about “nearly £200 on cushions”, you will need to be “witch-hunting” several hundred MPs before you you anywhere near to Ming on the list.

    It is not even close to being on “slightly more serious side”.

    It is emphatically on the de minimis side.

    Only someone who has failed to read – or understand – the published material could possibly think otherwise.

    To portray the Telegraph’s and wider media coverage as a “witch hunt” is just idiotic. This bears no comparison to a Salem situation, despite its occasional excesses.

    The implications of this scandal for British politics are as serious as Watergate was for the USA (for which some people still blame Woodward and Bernstein for witch-hunting the GOP).

  6. Chris Says:

    Politics Home is reporting that the Telegraph tomorrow is running with a front page of the Conservative reaction to their expenses, rather than the Lib Dem ones. This could be the issue that gets the Lib Dems above Labour in the national polls.

  7. Mark Littlewood Says:

    Thanks Chris, I only saw the front page print out on the TV. It is – everything considered – an amazingly clean bill of health for our MPs. I hardly think “trouser press-gate” is going to do for Chris Huhne…Nor “cushion gate” for Ming Campbell.

    No room for complacency – but a real chance to capitalise on a massive political opportunity.

  8. LS Says:

    Opik claiming £40 for the summons for non-payment of council tax is hugely bad. Hwe wouldn’t be a huge loss, though.

    The rest is pretty irrelevant on first glance.

  9. Mark Says:

    Without wanting to seem in any way “bullish” or unpleasant about this, I would suggest that any discussion suggesting that what the electorate see as defrauding the taxpayer, is ‘de minimis’ completely misses the point that some MP’s (of most hues) have been absolutely wrong, sneaky and in some cases down-right criminal in thier abuses of the expenses system.

    All MP’s are damaged by this scandal and all political parties need to accept that what has happened is wrong and needs to change – trying to suggest that it isn’t a story in the case of LibDems is just going to provoke further ire.

  10. Lee Matthews Says:

    I see that Mp’s are still trying to rip us off with new expenses rules, saying that only the profit on homes should be paid back. What about the taxpayers money that they use to pay the mortgage/buy the house in the first place or will that just go to the “homeowner” as a bonus.

  11. Mark Littlewood Says:

    Interesting poin, Lee. My (mis?)understanding was that Clegg would only allow claims for the interest on the mortgage (e.g. making it the same, effectively as paying rent) – and the only “bonus” they could claim would be from their own private investment (e.g. if they put down a deposit to buy half the house from their own money, they would get 50% of the proceeds of the sale…which might involve a private profit).

    I tend to agree with Norman Baker – it would be simpler (and less corruptible) to limit MPs to claiming rent/hotel bills for their stays in London.

  12. Russell Says:

    Opik should be thrown out of the party. It’s only £40 but there is no excuse. The others should be considering their positions too.

    I want blood. Labour will never give it to me. The Tories wimped out when they had the perfect chance to chop people (MOAT CLEANING!?). Now it’s the Lib Dems turn. Fair or not – give us blood and you will win a hell of a lot of votes. If all I see is “sorry, we will pay it back” then my vote gets wasted on a minor party. Monster Raving Loony are currently looking good.

  13. Sarah Says:

    I think, all in all it has worked out in our favour assuming the paper is not holding back any large damning allegations. At the moment Cameron is dominating the issue but if Clegg can get some decent coverage over the next few days I think we can gain maybe four to five points and jump over Labour in the polls.

    But frankly I am utterly disgusted by this whole mess.

  14. Russell Says:

    Just read the details on Ming Campbell. If he isn’t dumped then no vote from me. He’s a thief and should be removed. Come on Lib Dems – you actually have a chance to thrash the other two parties on this issue and win significant votes from people like me. Do it! The electorate is crying out for a party that can show it wont accept thieves.

  15. Darrell Says:

    My gut feeling this morning is that there is enough there for us to stop getting any direct polling advantage from this (indeed, Clegg himself has been a busy bee claiming second home allowance) so I dont think we should go with Marks suggestion of Nick going for the jugular. Luckily, ours has come at the end after the shock value has naturally decreased over time.

    We probably wont suffer as much as the other parties but neither will we get credited for being somehow better on the issue either…

  16. David Hodge Says:

    My comment yesterday 12th May on Liberal Vision, liberal Vision, New Blog. “Waiting to see if my M.P. Andrew George has been a naughty boy” Well I am shocked that I am not shocked that this man who is my M.P. has ripped us off. If the Liberal constituency for St. Ives do not deselect him then this part of Cornwall will become blue at the next Election. The man is a crook. To anyone who can get near him. Ask him how many nights have you slept at your bolt-hole and how many nights has his daughter slept there. This is the man who wants to charge second home owners in Cornwall double council tax for having two homes. He is having a laugh. I own two homes in the St. Ives area. Guess what, I have both properties insured in my name.

  17. Mark Littlewood Says:

    I doubt this is the end of the revelations. It’s possible that the Telegraph has run out of steam, but the rumours are they will end on a spectacular finale.

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