A tale of two sleaze stories

Yesterday, the media got itself into a tizzy over a story about Alan Johnson that I’m pleased to see most Lib Dem bloggers seem entirely unimpressed by.

Today, Derek Conway MP has been suspended from Parliament for two weeks for apparently defrauding the taxpayer out of £40,000 to pay his kid’s pocket money at university. That’s ignoring the £22,000 he claims for a second home despite his constituency being 12 miles from Westminster (hat tip: Duncan Borrowman).

There does seem to be a certain level of hypocrisy at work here. Government ministers are being hounded, and in one case hounded out of office for not taking the law on donations seriously enough and being a bit stupid, but even in Hain’s case there doesn’t appear to have been any serious corruption. Meanwhile Conway appears to have been lining his own pockets without the media paying any attention until now. This isn’t hubris or incompetence but good old fashioned corruption. Shamefully, it took a BNP member to issue the complaint (anyone know if Michael Barnbrook is any relation to gay porn film-maker Richard?).

If Hain’s cock up was severe enough to lose him his job (and I’m not saying it wasn’t), then Conway’s behaviour warrants far greater punishment. If any sleaze scandal ought to involve Scotland Yard, it’s this one.

At the very least, will Cameron withdraw the whip and force him to be deselected?

UPDATE: I’ve been asked to clarify that Conway hasn’t actually been suspended from Parliament yet.


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