Wednesday, 24 March 2010

"'No peerage for Dorset lobby MP" - I was a fool

"No peerage for Dorset lobby MP" is the headline of a BBC story. Go to -

The story itself reads as follows:

"Tory leader David Cameron has said a Dorset MP who was filmed claiming he was "likely" to be made a peer will not get a place in the House of Lords.

Sir John Butterfill was secretly filmed for the Channel 4 programme Dispatches saying he was a useful contact to lobby a future Conservative government.

The Bournemouth West MP, who will stand down at the election, denied "knowingly breaching the MPs' code of conduct".

It is understood Sir John has referred himself to the Standards Commissioner.

He has denied any wrongdoing, adding: "I never knowingly breached the MPs' code of conduct nor have I sought to do so.

"I have never carried out consultancy work for people seeking government contacts."

'Incorrect advice'

Mr Cameron said the programme featured "a Conservative backbencher who attempted to up his value by suggesting he will get a peerage", adding: "I can tell you that's not going to happen."

Three former ministers, Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon, have been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party over lobbying allegations.

The programme showed undercover footage of various politicians who were approached by a fictional US firm looking to hire them for lobbying work.

Under Commons rules MPs can work for companies, but must declare payments and may not lobby ministers directly.

Last May, Sir John agreed to repay £20,000 in tax and mortgage payments, much of which was claimed from public funds towards staff quarters in his home.

He said he was given incorrect advice about what he could claim for a section of his house, later sold for £1.2m, occupied by a gardener."

And all I can add is, 'I was a fool,' because I was one of dozens drafted in by the Conservative Party when the then plain Mr John Butterfill was first up for election at Bournemouth West. I should have stayed at home and done something useful for Cambridgeshire.

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