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30 June 2008updated 22 Oct 2020 3:55pm

Duncan v Oborne?

Will Alan Duncan square up to Peter Oborne after the Daily Mail columnist wrote about his business l

By Martin Bright

A fascinating spat is developing between Daily Mail columnist Peter Oborne and the Shadow Business Secretary Alan Duncan.

Writing in the Mail on Saturday, Oborne warned that the Tories’ capacity for sleaze was not over. He suggested, for example, that Duncan’s links to the oil trading company Vitol were worth a look.

Vitol are an interesting company. I once had a meeting with them during which I asked about whether they had ever used the Serbian war criminal “Arkan” to help them collect a debt. They agreed that he has indeed been used a middle man. There is nothing illegal in this, but it was a bit scary all the same.

I notice that Duncan and Oborne are appearing together at a debate entitled “What can business teach politics about ethics?” in Westminster on Thursday. Could be fiery stuff. There will be no Arkan to act as intermediary as he was assassinated some years ago. But I’m sure chair Sir Alistair Graham will do a fine job of keeping them apart.

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