Tory MP raises the expenses bar to stratospheric proportions

Just when we thought it was all over – the duck islands, the moat-cleaning, the gardening, the £400 for fixing a briefcase and second homes, the expenses issue rears itself again.

David Wilshire, otherwise known as that nasty piece of work who first tabled Section 28 into the Local Government Act of 1988 has been caught paying £100,000 in expenses to his own “company” – additionally, the company is offshore, has never audited any accounts and is unincorporated – the whole situation is stained with corruption.

A just falldown for the man who implemented a directly homophobic clause? Let’s just say I have no sympathy at all.

I’ve been quite tempted to log on to William Hill and place a bet on Wilshire being nudged towards resignation before the Sunday newspapers go to print. But I’m sure Cameron is working on his removal as I type this.

Well, Wilshire is 66 – what’s that Osbourne said about the retirement age recently? *

*thanks to @psbook for that one!
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Tories: Tough on Duncan, not Hannan.

So, after developing his political career at the Boris Johnson school of self-promotion (with passes in ill-informed ranting and appearing on Have I Got News For You), Alan Duncan has decided to leave his Cabinet position and take voluntary (?) demotion.

Seen as there’s no comment from Duncan, and vague “he made a terrible mistake but I didn’t sack him” comment from Cameron – so there’s no evidence to suggest that there’s been a forced demotion. The decision was taken after a meeting with Cameron earlier in the day.

I’m no flag-waver for Alan Duncan and I couldn’t care less if he leaves the Shadow Cabinet. But what I cannot fathom is why, in a tale of two Tories making scandalous comments about topics that have inflamed public anger, Duncan is the only one who’s come off badly. Hannan’s comments were equally offensive, if not more so in my personal opinion.

Duncan believes himself to be a “lightening conductor” for public anger. I can understand that there was considerable anger at his remarks and rightly so. Yes, they were ill informed and highly offensive. But there is a huge difference between making stupid remarks and trashing the NHS abroad – which Dan Hannan was doing around the time Duncan made his comments! Does anyone see the same condemnation of Hannan or even a “meeting” resulting in a later demotion? Oh hang on, Hannan was promoted!

Both of the incidents with Hannan and Duncan were damaging enough to the Tories – but in my opinion, Hannan’s NHS trash-talking of the NHS was offensive to more than just the public – it undermined a whole workforce, the countless lives saved by the system and the basic human right of access to healthcare! Yet he gets promotion and Duncan is vilified, to the point of believing that he’s a liability to the Tories’ electoral success:

“What matters most is the winning the election and David Cameron becoming the prime minister. [..] I don’t want to be a brake on that by making a difficult issue more problematic. I am very happy to get stuck into another job.”

He echoes this sentiment on Twitter too (well, if it really is him – apparently Tweetminster is “verifying” him).

Meanwhile, his replacement is being announced tomorrow.

Quick ascension and quick fall down – how classic in Tory politics.

Update: Tweetminster confirms that @AlanDuncanMP is actually fake.

David Davis – backbench troublemaker?

That David Davis – he’s becoming quite the troublemaker from his position on the Tory backbenches.

Yesterday, he made his opinions very clear in The Times regarding the announcement that medical records could be transferred and handled by Google under Tory plans. Given that Davis vested himself as the “Great Defender of Liberty” after his dramatic resignation and by-election win, he has suddenly become the independent voice of civil liberties, or so this article would suggest.

Some of his statements could be seen as a direct attack on David Cameron – if Cameron’s close links to Google are taken into context. Politics.co.uk reported yesterday that Davis has come from his quiet hiding place to become a prominent thorn in the side of Mr. Cameron. Only a few weeks ago, Davis was opening up the grammer schools debate once again – another Tory sore wound. In a recent speech to a meeting on grammer schools, he took a swipe (or what might be described more accurately as a right-hook) at Cameron’s Eton background, and the educational demographic of the shadow cabinet:

“In a thinly-veiled swipe at Eton-educated David Cameron, he told a meeting on grammar schools the only winners from the death of the selective education system were the public school boys who now “dominate” Britain.”

The previously lethal issue of grammer schools caused a long-running headache for the Tory leader in the early months of his leadership. Rather kind of Davis to drag up the issue again.

I wonder how this is going to go down in the Tory frontbench? There are hints that some consider Davis’s remarks to be an open declaration of war. Don’t get too excited – Davis is clearly provoking some kind of reaction, but I seriously doubt Cameron will allow himself to settle the old score with his one-time adversary. I doubt the Tory leader needs a war whilst he’s trying to win the next election, no matter how much provocation Davis attempts. If I happened to be Tory leader, I wouldn’t rise to the bait. Cameron could easily spin Davis’s attacks as deeply-engrained bitterness towards him since losing the 2005 leadership contest – if he wanted open warfare.

Any indication of verbal warfare or political punches is speculative at the moment. I just wait to see what Davis has to say about Tory public spending policy. It could either expose the hidden divisions in the Conservative Party, or show Davis as a bitter loser.