Daily Archives: January 7, 2011

Jim Pickard

It’s all quiet on the Westminster front today despite the sentencing of David Chaytor, former Labour MP, to 18 months in prison. Chaytor was convicted for submitting bogus invoices which led to him receiving £18,350 of payments from the Commons authorities.

The former Labour MP for Bury North pleaded guilty to three counts of false accounting relating to rent and claims for IT consultancy work that he had never been required to pay for. He had asked for rent money covering homes in London and his constituency – but it turned out that the properties were owned by him and his mother.

It is the first sentencing since the expenses scandal of the summer of 2009.

Curiously there is no gloating today from either the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats of the kind that you’d normally expect at the humiliation of a Labour MP. The silence reflects a rare acknowledgement that none of the three main parties emerged from the scandal with their dignity intact.

It’s worth asking meanwhile whether Chaytor’s downfall will have any bearing on the result in next week’s by-election in Oldham East and Saddleworth, a constituency only a Read more

Jim Pickard

David Cameron has proved remarkably adept at drafting former Labour ministers into his “big tent”. It is a device which has helped to lend a less partisan sheen to the coalition.

But recent attempts to co-opt Malcolm Wicks, former energy minister, have fallen on stony ground, I can reveal. It is not clear whether Wicks was wary of being painted as a turncoat – the fate of Lord Hutton, Alan Milburn and Frank Field – or was just too busy. Read more