UK Labour suspends four

March 24th, 2010 at 9:46 am by David Farrar

The Independent reports:

LONDON – Three former Cabinet ministers were suspended from the Labour Party yesterday over accusations they were ready to use their position to influence Government policy in return for money.

Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon had the parliamentary whip removed from them by party chiefs after being caught on camera by an undercover television investigation into lobbying by politicians.

The “cash for access” storm, which has overshadowed Labour’s election preparations, took a dramatic turn after the programme was broadcast yesterday.

The Labour Chief Whip, Nick Brown, and the party’s general secretary, Ray Collins, ordered their suspension pending a full investigation into the claims. Margaret Moran, the MP for Luton South, who featured in the programme, was also suspended by the party.

Three of the four MPs suspended are not obscure Backbenchers, but were high profile Secretaries of State.

Byers under Blair was Treasury Chief Secretary, and then Trade & Industry, Transport and Local Government Ministers. His former political advisor is the notorious Jo Moore who on 11 September 2001 sent out an e-mail advising people it was a good day to bury bad news stories.

Patricia Hewitt replaced Byers as Secretary of State for T&I and then became Health Secretary.

Geoff Hoon served under both Blair and Brown with portfolios ranging from Defence Secretary to Leader of the House, to Transport Secretary.

All three are high profile members of – not quite household names, but very much part of the brand. Hard to see how this will not hurt them in the polls.

One Conservative MP was also stung as agreeing to lobby for money, but he has never held senior role, so most of the focus has been on the ex Ministers.

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7 Responses to “UK Labour suspends four”

  1. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Of course Godon Brown is shocked.

    That they got caught and hes trying to get some distance.

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  2. aardvark (417 comments) says:

    A great example of why a healthy democracy relies on freedom of the press and how you can’t rely on police (an organ of the state) to uncover skulduggery and corruption within the ranks of government.

    It seems that the media has become the only watchdog prepared to investigate and report on the nasty, corrupting effects that power has on far too many politicians.

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  3. nigel201065 (38 comments) says:

    I was wondering why there was an Israeli diplomat sent packing last night
    Yes Minister really is the parliamentary training video for the British government

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  4. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Only it was funny amusing not funny stinks to high heaven.

    Notice how just like Helen they can call people spys without producing any evidence. Because I say so, the justification of nanny state.

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  5. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,914 comments) says:

    These are the people to whom Clark turned for advice. Our last election had little to do with policy but much to with character and moral fibre.

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  6. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    There was moral fibre? Was it hiding behind the pea?

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  7. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    This could never happen in NZ; we don’t have any investigative journalists. Oh wait, there’s Ian Wishart. Never mind.

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