Thursday, October 25, 2007

Stop Press: Labour Peer Accused of Cash for Access

I've been leaked a copy of the Guardian's explosive front page story tomorrow. And boy is it explosive. It accuses Labour Peer Lord Hoyle (former Warrington MP Doug Hoyle) of taking money to intriduce arms dealers to the Defence Procurement Minister Lord Drayson. Here are the opening paras of David Leigh's story...

A Labour peer has admitted taking money to introduce an arms company lobbyist to the government minister in charge of weapons purchases. The case of 'cash for access' in the House of Lords is likely to ignite fresh concern about ethical standards in parliament. The lobbyist paid cash for an introduction to Lord Drayson, the defence minister in charge of billions of pounds of military procurement, according to evidence obtained by the Guardian. Money changed hands with former Labour frontbencher Lord Hoyle, previously Doug Hoyle, an ex-government whip and former MP for Warrington.

The lobbyist, Michael Wood, who trades as Whitehall Advisers, agreed to pay Lord Hoyle an undisclosed sum in June 2005. MoD documents released to the Guardian show that Lord Hoyle then engineered a private meeting between Mr Wood and the newly appointed defence minister. Mr Wood is a former RAF officer who works for BAE and other smaller arms companies to help get them contracts. He has free run of the Palace of Westminster because he has a security pass as a research assistant to another MP. He operates his company from his nearby flat.

Paying cash for ministerial introductions is a practice frowned on at the House of Lords, but not specifically outlawed. 'Cash for introductions' is forbidden by the main lobbyists' trade body, the Association of Professional Political Consultants, but Mr Wood is not a member.

There's a lot more. Read the full story HERE.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I see the anti English Feniean twatt Maud on Question time refered to the area around Oxford as a EUSSR region,
Bloody French Fenian twatt

Marquee Mark said...

Iain, perhaps you could dig out some choice quotes from Labour when this issue was apparently a uniquely Conservative problem...

Tony said...

What was it Blair said again? "Purer than pure"? The stench that emanates from Labour, the Smith Institute and the various other hangers on whose actions are so questionable when it comes to conduct is utterly appalling.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you'd like to tell us who Wood gets his pass from? Is it a member of the Conservative front bench perhaps? You know, I think it is.

Iain Dale said...

Indeed so. It is Gerald Howarth. I shall be asking him about this when I see him at an event tomorrow evening.

"the great statesman" said...

"ochnoooo...!!!"

Iain Dale said...

Oh spare us the sanctimony.

Anonymous said...

This is a link to the story:

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/homeaffairs/story/0,,2199621,00.html


Most of us know this is a complete non-story

Newmania said...

Oh goody are we going to have the word sleeeeeeze back, if so can I ask that the fat bag Thornberry is in the frame too



Misuse of Communications- Thousands of residents have just received a letter from Emily Thornberry bigging up ,...er Emily Thornberry. In it she asks the electorate to tell her which of a number of priorities are most important , The list includes CCTV for Islington, Affordable housing and so on as well as neutral conundrums like ,” Which of Gordon Brown’s NEW ideas for Britain do you support”

Accepting Union Money - The Freepost Replies , reports Private Eye have been put through the franking machine of none other than the “ Communications Workers Union in London SW19 , miles from her Constituency

Cash For Questions - On 25th July by astonishing coincidence , Emily urged Gordon Brown to ...” Join me in urging the royal Mail to enter into meaningful discussions with the Communications Workers Unions ..”

Newmania said...

Oh goody are we going to have the word sleeeeeeze back, if so can I ask that the fat bag Thornberry is in the frame too



Misuse of Communications- Thousands of residents have just received a letter from Emily Thornberry bigging up ,...er Emily Thornberry. In it she asks the electorate to tell her which of a number of priorities are most important , The list includes CCTV for Islington, Affordable housing and so on as well as neutral conundrums like ,” Which of Gordon Brown’s NEW ideas for Britain do you support”

Accepting Union Money - The Freepost Replies , reports Private Eye have been put through the franking machine of none other than the “ Communications Workers Union in London SW19 , miles from her Constituency

Cash For Questions - On 25th July by astonishing coincidence , Emily urged Gordon Brown to ...” Join me in urging the royal Mail to enter into meaningful discussions with the Communications Workers Unions ..”

Justin said...

He has free run of the Palace of Westminster because he has a security pass as a research assistant to another MP.

Would you like to declare your interest, Iain?

Iain Dale said...

Justin,
I have never made any secret I have a House of Commons pass and have mentioned it several time on the blog. However, in case you are trying to equate me to this situation I should remind you that I do not engage in lobbying activities and I actually do research work for the MP, Keith Simpson, who sponsors it. My interests are fully declared on the Register, should you wish to peruse it.

Justin said...

Iain, I wasn't trying to accuse you of anything improper or equate you with anything. Please don't jump to conclusions. I've seen your entry on the register of interests.

I just wanted to note that there seems to be a lot of dishing out of passes to people by MPs of all sides. I've always wondered why this seems to be the csse and why some people get passes - as we've seen today, the system is not entirely above board and something needs fixing.

As someone on the outside who is deeply cynical about politics, I'm obviously trying to hunt out back-scratching. I'd love to get in and have a wander round but I don't have anything that would interest an MP enough to give me a pass. I merely wanted to question why you would have one.

I'm completely and sincerely willing to take you at your word that your arrangement with Keith Simpson is a proper one.

Iain Dale said...

Justin, Thank you for the clarification. I agree the system needs to be cleaned up. About 12 years ago I was one of the people pushing the APPC (the lobbyists trade association) to ban its members from having Commons passes. That then happened. In most cases there is no impropriety, but it is the few miscreants who ruin it for everyone else. So a complete ban was inevitable. However, there are still people who are not signed up to the APPC code of conduct.

Anonymous said...

Having checked the register it seems iain that your interests have not been registered. May well have been an oversight on my part but you definitely ought to check it out.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how this controversy has disappeared off the news agenda today. Bearing in mind Drayson's controversial history re donations, you'd think it had plenty of mileage. The silence wouldn't have anything to do with the fact its embarrassing to both main parties would it?

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, I have indeed registered my interests as has been confirmed in a letter this morning from the Registrar. I updated the form last week when I got a new pass.

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between Lord Hoyle and Neil Hamilton?