The recent BBC Panorama / Telegraph sting on UK politicians willing to lobby for money is still unfolding, with Panorama due to air a programme about it on Thursday 6th June 2013. Prime Minister David Cameron was right to point out in a speech three years ago that lobbying was a scandal waiting to happen and a statutory register of lobbying interests is surely just around the corner now.
Caught up in the latest sting is one of the Conservative MP’s I used to advise, back in 2006, Colonel Patrick Mercer.
The whole incident is a bloody shame. Of all the MPs I ever worked with, Patrick is the most fun – he is a patriot, a star and a good bloke.
Yes, it seems likely that Patrick has made a mistake (just as the anti-Cameron rant was seen as mistake by those of us Conservatives who happen to be rather fond of our PM). As a consequence of this probable mistake Patrick has honourably resigned the Conservative whip and stated that he’ll resign as an MP come the next election. Patrick’s Newark constituency are said to be very upset that they are losing such a brilliant MP and someone so popular with voters (Patrick has turned what used to be a Labour seat into a Conservative seat and won with a stonking majority of 16,000 in 2010).
When I joined the Venezuelan Opposition Movement in 2008 (my wife is Venezuelan and we spend some of our time as Venezuelan Citizens), I asked one of the Opposition leaders, Leopoldo Lopez, how long he expected it to take to get rid of Chavez. Lopez answered then that it would take ten years.
On a day when headlines were rightly dominated by the apparent abduction of five year old April Jones from outside her home in Machynlleth in Wales, Labour leader Ed Miliband claimed that the Labour party were the “one nation” party of Britain when he addressed his party conference in Manchester.
The Tory blue background of the platform, the script-free approach (stolen from current Prime Minister and Tory David Cameron) and outlandish personal comparisons to Disraeli might have led onlookers to imagine Miliband was after Tory voters disgruntled by austerity and the fact that the Tories have been saddled with a bunch of lily-livered Liberal Democrats until 2015.