Sleaze Sinks Four More Labour MPs
I have been following the latest news of Labour sleaze allegations with growing incredulity. Tonight Channel 4 broadcast the heavily trailed documentary in which several senior Labour former Ministers stated their price to an undercover reporter. Steven Byers, Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon reportedly asked for £3-5,000 per day for lobbying the Government on behalf of various causes. Byers was particularly full of his own importance with claims of past success in lobbying Ministers and getting policy changed.
Interestingly as soon as the story broke Byers denied almost everything he was recorded as having said to the undercover reporter. So he is either lying now or was lying to the reporter. Simples! The Government Ministers he claimed to have lobbied also denied that Byers had ever had any influence on their decisions, although curiously, the outcome of the decisions Byers described were accurate.
It was around a year ago that Labour was mired in a series of sleaze allegations around “Smeargate” and an operation based in Downing Street to smear political opponents. The new allegations do not implicate 10 Downing Street and ironically seem to mainly involve some of Gordon Brown’s arch internal opponents. Hewitt and Hoon were the two organisers of the new year botched coup to remove Gordon Brown as Labour Leader and Prime Minister. It is no surprise therefore that tonight the three (Hoon, Hewitt and Byers) have had the Labour Whip suspended. Despite the damage that this does to Labour just weeks before a General Election, Brown can be forgiven a wry smile at the fate of those who sought so ineptly to remove him from office.
Once again Tony Blair’s promises that Labour would bring a “new politics” and be “whiter than white” have been shown up for the hot air that they were then and now. It will be very interesting to see what impact tonight’s revelations have on the polls. If the impression of a sleazy government on its last legs sticks, it will contribute to a defeat of the order of 1997 for Labour come 6th May.
UPDATE: A fourth Labour MP has been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party. Luton South MP Margaret Moran has become the latest to lose the Whip.