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4 February 2009

Conway’s rebuke

Paul Evans trawls the politics blogs so you don't have to. This week relive the Derek Conway affair,

By Paul Evans

Making a living: the Conway

In this week’s Friday report we bring turn back the clock. One year ago, Tory bad-boy Derek Conway was at the centre of a hullabaloo over his improper use of our money to pay his louche and eccentric sons as researchers, despite their apparently not having conducted any research.

Marking the anniversary, Conway was this week further rebuked the Standards and Privileges Committee – and ordered to repay some £3757.

Amusingly, amongst the evidence the Old Bexley and Sidcup MP submittedto prove that his sprogs had been working hard was a photograph of one of the boys hanging out with a foreign ambassador. It was not considered very compelling.

Conway’s blogging Lib Dem opponent Duncan Borrowman was dissastisfied with the leniancy of his punishment, and argued that:

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“There should be a mechanism for removing from office MPs who treat taxpayers with the contempt that Mr Conway has, just to line the pockets of his family. In any other job Mr Conway would be sacked for gross misconduct.”

He went on to call for the MP to do the decent thing and resign his seat. North-Eastern Tory Curly was in accord.

“Considering that the costs to us, on behalf of his whole family amount to over £1.5m, Conway can consider that he has been reasonably well treated,” he wrote.

Julian Ware-Lane is a Labour candidate who feels that the shade Conway casts on politicians as a class is unfair. Condemning the disgraced member he complains:

“Hours and hours of campaigning, meetings, writing, and I am regularly out of pocket. And still I will hear “all politicians are the same, in it for what they get out of it” – if that is remotely true I am missing out big time.”

For Beau Bo D’Or a rather neatly crafted image spoke a thousand words.

I’m afraid I’ve failed to find any bloggers actually prepared to stick up for poor old Derek – although last January, cheekily reproduced a piece that young Henry has written about vintage fashion, so why not enjoy that again instead?

What have we learned this week?

Strolling past Parliament Square this week, I noticed that the perma-protest established by Brian Haw has become a little vague in its demands, as it sprawls the length of the road. Newcomers have swollen the ranks of the demo – which now demands an end to British military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, peace in Gaza, freedom for the Tamil people and the legalisation of marijuana.

Tim Ireland has been a consistent advocate of the right to protest in
Parliament Square – and was struck this week by apparent disagreement amongst senior Tories over their position on the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act.

Around the World

It’s three months since the establishment of the Congess of the People party in South Africa. Khaya Dlanga speculates on the potential consequences of (hypothetically) Thabo Mbeki endorsing the new party while remaining a member of the ANC.

“Unfortunately I don’t see Luthuli House viewing Mbeki’s endorsement of Cope as his democratic right. He would most likely be called a traitor at first. Then names of a host of animals that can be found in a zoo,” he writes.

Perhaps South Africa isn’t quite ready for a cross-partisan endorsement culture. Khaya also points us to a brilliant satirical South African advert for Nandos restaurants, featuring Evita Bezuidenhout – Johannesburg’s answer to Dame Edna Everage.

Videos of the Week

Watch the fascinating Henry Conway take the

Grazia fashion quiz



, where the Pontiff makes up for letting a barking mad racist back into the fold by blaming the Holocaust on “neo-paganism”.

Quote of the Week

“My pledge to get 1,000 people to club together and purchase the services of an ex-cabinet minister to lobby the government for us has been a great success so far. It only needs 976 more people to sign up”.

Justin McKeating on Chicken Yoghurt. Go on – join him.

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