Saturday, May 23, 2009

Andrew MacKay To Step Down

Coffee House's Fraser Nelson is reporting that Andrew MacKay has decided that he will stand down at the next election. He spoke to David Cameron this morning and he has come to the conclusion that his position is no longer tenable following the public meeting last night and the resultant bad publicity. What a terrible way to end a political career.

Andrew has always been very kind to me. When I first applied to go on the candidates list in the mid 1980s he did my MP interview. He exposed my naivete very well by asking me who I thought should be the next leader of the Conservative Party. I went through a few names before eventually realising that the correct answer was: "There's no vacancy".

It is quite clear that this departure is more serious for the Conservative Party than either Viggers or Steen and it would be ostrich-like to pretend otherwise. I think it will have far reaching consequences for others. David Cameron has lost his Willie, Julie Kirkbride will now come under pressure and other MPs who have been caught up in this will now be looking over their shoulders too.

Bad times.

UPDATE: Andrew MacKay has released a statement...
Following a conversation with David Cameron this morning I have decided to step down as candidate for Bracknell at the next general election. I believe I could be a distraction at a time when he is working to get elected as prime minister with the good working majority necessary to take the tough decisions to turn this country around. I hope my decision to step down goes some way to showing my constituents how sorry I am about my own situation. I would never forgive myself if my candidature distracted voters from the key issues and particularly David's rousing call for change. It has been both a privilege and huge fun to represent the people of Bracknell for 26 years. I understand why people are angry. I hope my decision to step down goes some way to showing my constituents how sorry I am about my own situation.


Booyakasha said...

Jesus Christ, how the hell did it take him so long to come to the realisation that his actions made his position unsustainable?

What a contemptible fool. Dave needs to embark upon a wholescale purge of his party's MP. The tide has shifted and, while I am in no doubt that members of ZaNu Lab have been the worst offenders (and have undoubtedly committed criminal offences), the Tories are coming off a lot worse at the moment.

Iain, you really cannot be objective on this whole matter given how 'close' you are to some of the worst Tory offenders. It's time you took a step back and, as admirable as your loyalty is to your 'friends', reviewed the whole situation for what it is: a corrupt mess inspired by gross greed and a contempt for the general public.

Anonymous said...

should have said this last week.his mrs will say the same today.they have cost us loads of votes.
cameron should have seen this days ago, bad judgement on his part here iam afraid.

Anonymous said...

You are right that this is a "terrible way for a political career to end", but only in so much as it was not ended in disgrace, immediately that the fraud undertaken by Mackay and Kirkbride came to light.

I have absolutely no sympathy for Mackay. He arranged his affairs so the taxpayer paid for both his main home and second home and Kirkbride is just as guilty as he is because she was complicit in "mirroring" the arrangement so she too avoided paying for either home out of her taxed income - like the rest of us have to.

Cameron should have withdrawn the whip from both last week and even if Mackay appears to have fallen on his sword, Kirkbride must go too.

ke from glos said...

Good riddance to the man and i hope his wife follows suit.

Anonymous said...

"What a terrible way to end a political career".

As they say, all political careers end in tears ...

Anonymous said...

Mr Anonymous - good try but I for one am not fooled. I think that Hoon Blears and Purnell are still desperate to get re-elected, what does that say about Brown?

Or that he still has his chief whip in a job after claiming £18,000 for food.

And Mr Boo - something called natural justice dictates that these things take time.

Plato said...

Sorry to sound harsh, but if you've been at the tax payers teat for 25yrs and abused it systematically then this is only of his/hers making.

I thought maybe that they had been led astray by the Fees Office until I saw HIGNFY and Kirkbride putting the phone down on BBC Radio Herts back in 2007 when asked exactly this question.

They knew it was wrong and are paying for it.

Cameron needs to let some blood now - otherwise charges that he is protecting his inner circle will gather pace.

BJ said...

When does the "Dale for Bracknell" campaign begin, then?

mustueus said...

" .. a terrible way to end a political career".

1) Gazillions from us
2) Gold-plated pension
3) Troughing wife

... to mention but a few.
Yup, he's gonna reach for the whiskey and revolver all right.


Anonymous said...

At last , perhaps they are beginning to sense the wrath of the public. Just heard that partisan babbler Matthew Parris on the radio trying to defend the indefensible, it seems that inside the Westminster Bubble they STILL don`t get it.

Joe Public said...

If he (& she) hadn't troughed, he'd still have a political career.

Anonymous said...

No, good times.

A clear out of those who have been less than honourable, in all senses, with the ACA and other expenses is confirmation of Cameron's authority.

And it will appeal.

New blood, quality blood, in their places.

Meanwhile, Gordon is cowed by his wimmin.

Rod said...

All of them who have abused the system should go. It does seem at present that it is mainly Tories, they also seem to be picking up most of the flack. Labour started of on a vote for us we are not sleazy and yet Ministers are involved with virtual silence from the MSM. Something is going on , I have thought that what would delight the MSM would be for a hung Parliament and that is their aim. They could then do a lot of stirring and stories of splits to push up their falling newspaper sales.

Unknown said...

Dale for Bracknell
Montgomerie for Totnes
Hannan for Gosport
Nelson for Sleaford

And I am really starting to like the look of the new parliamentary Conservative Party.

We just need a seat for Guido (or maybe not)

English First said...

What`s that, 638 to go? Lots of Private Prosecutions coming up methinks!

They simply don`t get it do they? The people have had more than enough!

jailhouselawyer said...

Bad times?

Let the good times roll.

Thomas Rossetti said...

Iain, although I'm sure you're right that Andrew MacKay is a nice fellow 'n' all, I'm afraid I agree with the previous posts. There was simply no alternative but for him to step down.

If this whole scandal results in a whole raft of deselected MPs -- and therefore a wholesale change in the makeup of Parliament -- then that is surely a good thing.

While MacKay's departure is a sad thing for him and his friends, it is surely for the good of the party as a whole.

Anonymous said...

What about Ann and Alan Keen then??

ranger1640 said...

If his wife Julie Kirkbride has any sense of honour and she will resign to ASAP.

Ulster Unionist & Conservative

Ulster Till I Die!

Daniel said...

On the plus side, it does show that Cameron is still mintmiles ahead of Brown in cleaning up this mess.

Guthrum said...

Wrong Iain- good times

Some right villains have been kind to their wives and dogs over the centuries.

He was either weak, or had no moral concept of right and wrong

LM said...

What about his Julie?

Anonymous said...

He looks a nasty piece of work to me and the wife is shrill. They knew damn well this was wrong, expecting HMG to pay for TWO homes out of two and it has quite rightly blown up in their faces. Just like signing 23 times that your mortgage interest is for a 2nd home that you know is unmortgaged. Thats not an error, thats fraud.

As to Steen I always though he was a pratt and that WAO interview confirmed a long held opinion. Our former MP Peter Emery was of the same mould.

However the Telegraph is doing a fine job but I sense that the paper is not the paper it was and soul has gone out of it. Black was plain daft to take cash out of the business in the way he did - why not just draw it? But his heart was in the paper and what it stood for. I do not belive this is true of the creeepy twins.

(Fed up with having to sign up to a fresh google account every day when I turn the machine on! Glyn H)

Jabba the Cat said...

And his wife is announcing the same when?

Oldrightie said...

"David Cameron has lost his Willie"! I suggest the surname Whitelaw might have been a better wordage!
I am sorry that people are wounded but they really are self-inflicted. The Party is it's members and too many MPs think otherwise. As for Brown, this is exactly what was intended when his evil backroom boys put this in motion. If DC continues to act swiftly and decisively and be seen more decent (not difficult) than Jimbo Brown it may still come good in the end.

Anonymous said...

fraser nelson and paris are the same as the mackays,everytime they talk on the bbc,sky etc i just cringe, they dont even sound normal, especially that fraser bloke.can we have some normal torys on the box please,who sound normal..ish

john miller said...

Cameron's lost that as well? Who dunnit?

UKIP Gaze said...

Good times.
Lets get these bastards out.

Anonymous said...

Everybody, stop putting your heads in the sand. This is nothing to do with Cameron showing authority, everyone knows it is to do with last nights pathetic performance in front of the cameras. If Cameron wants to show any real leadership, Mrs Kirkbride will go in the next few hours. We all know that this won't happen. She will be forced out by the good people of her constituency.

UB41 said...

Two simple principles:

1) MPs should NOT make any profit from being an MP apart from their salary

2) MPs should not have to use their salary to be an MP.

As for Mackay - he has done parliament a great disservice since his expenses were published.

That lamentable performance last night just reinforces public opinion of MP's, i.e.

Immoral, and one rule for them, one for us.

On a lighter note, good to see Old Holborn made the mainstream news tonight!

strapworld said...

Iain, are you suggesting the tory party should retain, within its ranks, those that have been named and shamed and who have said 'sorry'! That is my book is an admission of guilt!

I am sorry that it has come to this for this man. I expect his wife, if there is any logic in that family, will follow her husband's example.

The Tories, to gain the moral high ground, and not lose the opportunity to win the general election, is for David Cameron to be ruthless.

Anyone named and shamed must be shown the door!

ukipwebmaster said...

David Cameron has lost his Willie??
Shurely shome mishtake?

Fausty said...

McKay should've gone when his story broke. That he hasn't, shows that he's acting in his own interests, rather than the party's (or his constituents').

He has prolonged anti-Tory media coverage.

Anonymous said...

If you lie sbout your living arrangements in order to wrongly take money from the taxpayer you have no business being an MP. End of.

Gareth said...

Either it is an allowance and should be taxed.(Plus no need for receipts)

Or it is expenses and the rules must be followed.(In Mackay and Kirkbride's case, they haven't. In many other cases, they haven't.

A typical politicial mire. Trying to be all things to all men but sufficiently neither one or the other so that waters are muddied. An allowance run as an expenses system - for what reason? The most obvious reason is to hide the fact it is a supplement to their income.

The answer to the Freedom of Information should not have been to cover up, nor should it have been to further perpetuate the charade of it being an expenses system by then insisting on receipts. They could have just come clean 5 years ago and either turned it into a block grant or gone the whole hog for it being a properly run expenses system.

The rank arrogance of politicians. The contempt they are showing for taxpayers and voters. It disgusts me. Moreso because they are doing so little work! Keen to rely on quangos and other unelected or unaccountable bodies to do the donkeywork which they then rubber stamp.

SuperiorLibrary Assistant said...

It's probable that everyone has made the same statement, but...

The two of 'em should have sacked immediately...

Anonymous said...

julie kirkbride she was complicite in this fraud, she should join her husband as soon as possible .your loyalty is misplaced

Realfish said...

He has made the right decision. Notwithstanding his record as an excellent MP, he should have ended this some time ago. This time, his judgement is right.

He is also right that he had become a distraction, not just from the elections but in drawing fire from far worse cases from far more senior politicians.

While Cameron want's to 'do the right thing,' bring some transparency and achieve closure, it is clear that the NuLab machine is playing a different and partisan game. They have adopted a different tactic altogether. Whilst Tories up and down the country are presenting and prostrating themselves to their constituents, the media and local parties, Brown's cronies have dived for cover and are keeping their heads down, waiting for the storm to abate.

Hoon, Purnell, Darling, Smith, McNulty, Uddin and friends are nowhere to be seen and despite all the questions that they must answer, they seem to be untouchable. This is an outrage and worse still the media can't be arsed to seek them out...and why should they? It's far easier to nail someone who is walking around with a 'kick me' sign on their backs.

DiscoveredJoys said...

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of public service, it was the epoch of greed..."

With apologies to Charles Dickens.

Iain, defending your friends is admirable, but if you hang around with an (allegedly) bad crowd there is a risk that you will come to accept their expectations of entitlement as your own - if only in other people's eyes.

Anonymous said...

Dear Iain,

You seem to ignore the fact that if, as the result of their dishonesty, a hundred Conservative MPs are forced to stand down at the next election, the "clean sweep" benefit for Cameron will be enormous. Compare this scenario with the fact that our Prime Mentalist cannot (dare not) even get rid of those openly calling for him to go, whether they have also been caught with their hands in the till or not.
Re-shuffle? How? Who is he going to replace any of them with? The tea lady? The window cleaner?
The Telegraph has now exposed about 200 liars, small-town shysters, out-and-out thieves, fraudsters and despicable con artists. As far as I am concerned there are still about 400 to go which will leave about 50 reasonably honest ones to form the skeleton of the next administration. I hope The Telegraph keeps right on to the end of the road.
Nadine Dorries believes some are close to suicide. Suicide? Come off it, woman.
As the indomitable Anne Widdecombe said yesterday : "They can give me a ring. I'm with the Samaritans".

Andrew Ian Dodge said...

The tea party types in the US are eyeing this "cull" of leeching MPs with wonderment and interest. A few less porkers in the House & Senate would do a nice job.

simon said...

Hilarious. MacKay has looked like the proverbial 'deer caught in the headlights' since 'claimgate' came to light. The 'meet the public' shoddy ploy -used to great effect by Cambo and Gove- was the cliff that forced MacKay to resign. The televised results were not pretty, and he should have stayed well clear of such a farce, since he did not have the personality to deal with the baying crowd. I suspect trying to deflect some of the attention from his wife may have played a part too.

The whole affair has been devastating to 'conventional politics'. Not only do MP's enact policies which are not supported by the populace, they 'take the mince' out of us again and feather their own nests with our money. There is no difference between an aloof elected dictatorship (of ANY political party) and a unelected dictatorship. The elected dictatorship is the worst of the lot: giving the impression of 'democracy' whilst the establishment does exactly what they please.

Anonymous said...

As one or two others have said - where are the cabinet resignations? Labour associations clearly do not care. Where is Smith for instance saying she will not stand?
I am pleased the Tories are taking a tough stance and MPs realise the game is up. McCartny is not standing again (safe labour seat, who will be for it?).

Labour know the lefty media will ignore their transgressions. Tories should not let them forget it. Labour are playing politics with this and the electorate should be reminded of it.

Once the Tories have gone through their own members they should turn the spotlight on Labour.

It stinks that the Telegraph have gone soft on Balls and Cooper. The Telegraph was far too cosy with Labour before all this and as far as I am concerned it is just as big a casualty.

BTW - given that all MPs were a party to the system and the fees office encouraged it - effectively as an allowance (see Stephen Pounds comments) I think it fair to differentiate the 'expenses' actions with the other useful and official acts of an MP. It can still be sad tbhat 'flaews have brought down someone, anyone, who otherwise was estimable.

Crossfire said...

Poor old Mac-Bride.. Oooh weird coincidence.

Anonymous said...

Sea Shanty Irish here:

Iain, do you think that your radio show last night was the straw that broke the camel's back on this one?

Certainly seems like Nadine Dorries took the advice of your musical guest, Lord Elvis of Presley (to temporarily stiffle herself) to heart!

Anyway, when it comes to MacKay and his ilk, I'm with the position staked out by the Archbishop several days ago.

MPs like MacKay who (finally) do the right thing by stepping down in response to unsustainable expanse claims, they deserve some credit for making the ultimate political sacrifice.

(Do think in Mackay's case he was ill-advised to use the words "huge fun" in describing his tenure, for obvious reasons.)

Even Steen deserves a modicum (but only that) of credit for stepping down.

May more follow there example. And certainly NOT just Tories!

Indeed, by their actions - in stark contrast to their words - the likes of Mackay and Steen are now helping their party and it's Fearless Leader.

Whereas Labour, Lib Dem, etc leaches who continue holding fast to the Great Westminster Sugar Teat are doing nothing for their party & leadership.

Anonymous said...

That wierd rug on top of his head did for him.

Politics aside, how could Kirkbride stare at that night after night without pissing herself laughing?

Perhaps, this was the ultimate perfect marriage; both delusional and no doubt both blissfully happy in their delusions.

Chris Paul said...

Ho ho, Cameron "has lost his Willie" - very droll.

Chris Paul said...

This case btw is one of the worst, if not the very worst of the lot. By not dealing Cameron showed himself very weak indeed, and prone to favours.

Iain Dale said...

Chris Paul, how typical of you to get the wrong end of the stick. It was Cameron who rang MacKay this morning and told him he had to go.

Tell me, when can we expect Brown to do the same with Hoon, Purnell and Blears?

Unsworth said...

All well and good but Mackay and Kirkbride chose to make claims which were damn stupid - as well as gut-wrenchingly greedy. So their stupidity and greed has caught them out.

Frankly he was on a hiding to nothing. He would have avoided heartache for the both of them if he'd simply stepped down long before being told to do so. He would have limited further damage to his espoused party by doing so, too. Now there's a strong possibility that she'll have to go as well. Not the most astute of politicians, then.

Richard's mum said...

This is excellent news for the Tory party. We need a good clear-out if the electorate is to trust us. Well done DC. Makes Brown look even more of a dinosaur.

Liz said...

Thank God for that - and what a shame David had to have a...gentle chat with him before he was able to come to this decision.

Anonymous said...

Standing down at the next election?

Why is the crook and his crooked wife allowed to draw MPs salaries and third homes for another 12 months?

No doubt they will also get resettlement grants and final salary pensions too.

Anonymous said...

"What a terrible way to end a political career."

Remember November 1990?

jailhouselawyer said...

Slightly off topic, but relevant...

I voted for Diana Johnson at the last General Election. I understand that it is claimed that she has claimed £436,632. That's hell of a lot for a first time MP. What makes her worth that amount? If it is too inflated, we need a repayment and she has to go.

MrInsulted said...

As one of Julie Kirkbride's constituents I am very disappointed that so far she seems to pretend that this issue is nothing to do with her and I am frankly offended that she doesn't think she owes an explanation to her constituents. Our ubiquitous MP seems to be almost in hiding apart from a very small interview with one of our local newspapers.
Since the local conservative chairman also thinks that there is no issue to clarify I must conclude that there is a deep problem with the local conservative party and I will no longer be voting for them at the next local elections, though I'll probably vote Tory at the European elections. If she continues with this attitude and she is still the conservative candidate at the next general election I will have to vote for someone else also (or at least for RON). I think I will not be the only one.

Premier League Wolf said...

I note on the Bromsgrove Conservative party website they are still supporting Macbride and the rumours are that the conservative leadership may have cut a deal with Mackay to lay off MacBride.

Macbride may be inclined to "tough if out" but she has zero chance of holding her seat at the next election. She either steps down, gets deselected or she will undoubtedly get voted out. The petition in Bromsgrove is a sure sign that she will not survive.

In whose interests is it that she stays? The Party? No. The Constituency? No. The only people whose interest it is in is herself and her husband and her family. Life is tough as she is sure to find out. Welcome to the real world.

When the inevitable happens I hope that an incoming Cameron government does not somehow contrive to provide indirect employment for Mackay/Macbride.