The BBC Politics Show in the East has just run a piece on my promise not to solicit or accept a company directorship if I become MP for North Norfolk. I declined to take part in the programme as they were clearly out to cause mischief among Conservative MPs - which they duly did.
What I have said implies no criticism of any sitting MP who holds outside interests as they are all fully declared in the Register. This option is not open to a candidate. The pledge is personal to me and I would not dream of asking or expecting any other candidate or MP to sign up to it.
Noni here - hi Iain. I was interested to see that you think that mischief making is the name of the BBC's game. Do you think they might just be following your suit?
Further to your point about Norman Lamb, I have to remind you of your response to a point I made on your site when you first launched your pledge.
At that time you said that it should be taken as read that, while you would not take on new business interests, your pledge did not cover existing business interests. You therefore felt it would be acceptable to continue your interest and involvement in your book retailing business (and media work).
As you know, Norman Lamb was an equity partner at Steele & Co before being elected in 2001. He is merely retaining an existing interest, which you have already said is wholly within the letter and spirit of your pledge.
Your implication that there was any dishonesty on the part of Mr Lamb signing up to the pledge is therefore wholly unfair (either that or you were dishonest yourself by signing up to your own pledge!) Surely a retraction and apology are in order on your part?
I wasn't suggesting any dishonesty at all. His consultancy is very properly listed in the Register of Members' Interests. However, the Politico's analogy is a fair one and with hindsight I could have worded this rather differently. I have therefore deleted that paragraph from the Blog. There, James, that's surprised you hasn't it?!
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