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New Labour sleazemongers still at large

It continues to defy explanation how some MPs were selected to be dealt with harshly by the press, their party or the law, whilst others, whose actions seem far more dubious, have escaped scott-free. One prime escapee from justice (though not from the verdict of the electors who booted her out) is Jacqui Smith, former Labour MP and Home Secretary, whose continuing chutzpah defies belief.

Not content with having a room in her house painted by prisoners undertaking work experience prior to their release, she is now offering her services as a “consultant” through a company which her husband has set up with a convicted con-man recently out of prison himself. Dave Cartwright had been the Labour leader of Redditch council, and has just completed a three-year sentence for defrauding more than £80,000 while working as the manager of a charity for young homeless people. Judge Toby Hooper, in sentencing “Dodgy Dave” Cartwright, had said:

The essence of your fraud offending is the abuse of the power and privilege which you enjoyed as a respected local government leader.”

Jacqui Smith attracted much initial notoriety for claiming the cost of porn-videos watched by her husband – a misdemeanour of which she was arguably an innocent victim, but one which she later took advantage of to kick-start her media career with a documentary on the porn industry.

Her more serious expenses scandal arose because she designated a room in her sister’s three-bedroom terrace house in South London as her main home so that she could claim “second-home” expenses on her family home in Redditch — despite explicitly stating on her website that she “lives in Redditch”. This arrangement of her financial affairs landed her £116,000 over six years. Sir Alistair Graham, the former Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life said that naming her sister’s spare bedroom as her main home was “near fraudulent” – which elicited a threat of legal action from Ms Smith for “malicious falsehood” – unsurprisingly, she didn’t actually take such action. Although John Lyon, the parliamentary watchdog, found that her housing claim broke the rules and she was asked to apologise, she was not made to return the expenses.

A question which might occur to Labour members and voters is when will Jacqui Smith and a number of others, some of whom remain Labour MPs, be considered at least by the party for disciplinary action. Even if parliament and the police will take no action, should not the party take some action against people who did most disgracefully bring the party into disrepute.


  1. Syzygy says:

    I think the LP should also ask the BBC to refrain from importing Jacqui Smith in as a Labour Party representative. She has been a frequent guest on Question Time, Newsnight and laughably, as a replacement for Dianne Abbott, on This Week.

  2. Gary Elsby says:

    One rule for one and another rule for everyone else.

    The Labour Party I believed in had one rule for everyone and that was that.

    Today, those administering the rules do so with no popular mandate from the membership.

    This is why 100,000 walked out and Labour subsequently lost the General Election.

    Take a look at David Miliband’s attempt at becoming Leader of this Party and Mandelson’s help he gave.


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