To all those "courageous" anonymous commenters who have been baying for a comment from me on Derek Conway (not a single person put their name to their posts, which says a lot), let me say this.
I believe in friendship. I believe that true friends don't abandon each other in difficult times. I have a track record of standing by my friends when the going gets rough. I've done it when I knew it would cost me personally. I went on TV defending the Hamiltons over the rape allegations when people warned me not to as it could damage me politically. I publicly defended Edwina Currie over the publication of her diaries, when it would have been more politically expedient to join the baying throngs.
And I have no hesitation in telling you that Derek Conway is a friend of mine. Anything I have to say about his conduct, I will say to his face.
I don't 'diss' on my friends in public. End. Of. Story.
WARNING: I fully expect to get a lot of flack for this, but do me a favour, will you? If you want to post a comment calling me a hypocrite or worse, then at least have the courtesy of putting a name to your comment. Because if you don't, it won't get posted. I don't mind people calling me whatever they like, but have the guts to do it publicly rather than hide behind the coward's shield of anonymity.