BY MATTHEW CORRIGAN
Following Dennis Skinner’s comments in last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour’s army of screeching social media supporters is making much of the investigation into Conservative Party spending two years ago ahead of the 2015 General Election.
Up to two dozen MPs have reportedly been investigated for allegedly, let’s not try to dress this up, pulling a fast one over matters of election spending. The party has already been fined by the Electoral Commission and the CPS is considering bringing charges against several MPs.
While the presumption of innocence is the most basic tenet of our legal system and no charges have, as yet, been brought, even the most ardent Tory supporter has to concede that this doesn’t, on the face of it, look particularly good.
As ever though, the strident Facebook crowd are managing to overlook the fact that several political parties have been accused of misinterpreting the rules in such a manner, including Labour and the Liberal Democrats. And it is worrying, although entirely unsurprising, that they choose to ignore the far bigger crimes that have actually been committed, investigated and prosecuted, in very recent history, and by members of their own team too.
The Left is remarkably good at rewriting history (I recently saw reference to the ‘Tory bank bail-out’), but it might be worth remembering that old faithful adage about stones and glass houses.
Otherwise someone might just come along to remind them about David Chaytor, former Labour MP for Bury North, who in January 2011 was handed an 18 month custodial sentence for three charges of false accounting.
Or Jim Devine, former Labour MP for Livingston, found guilty in February 2011 on two charges of false accounting and sentenced to sixteen months.
Or Eric Ilsley, former Labour MP for Barnsley Central, guilty of false accounting and dishonestly obtaining more than £14000.00 of taxpayers’ money, January 2011 – twelve months.
Or Denis MacShane, former Labour MP for Rotherham, guilty of false accounting, December 2013 – six months.
Or Margaret Moran, former Labour MP for Luton South, found unfit to plead on fifteen charges of false accounting and six charges of forgery which totalled more than £50000.00. Sentenced in 2012 to two year supervision and treatment order.
Or Eliot Morley, former Labour MP for Scunthorpe who made bogus mortgage claims of more than £30000.00. Sentenced in May 2011 on two charges of false accounting – sixteen months.
Or even the Co-op Bank scandal.
While I’m sure the Corbynites are keen to explain that these were largely members of the old New Labour Party, and that the new Old Labour Party is a completely different entity, we should perhaps recall that dear old Jeremy hasn’t been entirely shrewd over some of his own appointments. I can gloss over the many and varied amusingly gaffe-prone ‘stars’ who line up alongside him in the benches each week, but appointing a ‘Shadow Minister for Preventing Abuse’ who once accepted a caution for beating the crap out of a partner wasn’t really the smartest of moves, was it?
As I said, people in glass houses, and all that.