Friday, March 12, 2010

Tories boycott Commons inquiry into Ashcroft peerage.

The Tories have decided to brazen it out over the Ashcroft scandal and attempt to portray this as Labour playing political games.

A Westminster inquiry into the row over Lord Ashcroft's peerage was thrown into turmoil when the Tory MPs on the committee walked out and said they were boycotting it permanently.

In what is understood to be an unprecedented move, Conservative members have withdrawn from the public administration select committee, some following discussions with the party whips.

So, this is to be the official Tory stance on this matter. They are, in effect, offering no defence at all.
It also emerged that Lord Ashcroft failed to meet a 9.30am deadline today to respond to an invitation to give evidence to the committee next Thursday.
This is our first example of the new transparency we can expect to enjoy under Cameron's Tories.

If a promise is made by the leader of the Tory party that Ashcroft will become a full British citizen and that this will benefit the Treasury by "tens of millions", and if Ashcroft then decides to hide his tax status for ten long years and then, finally - and only after the Freedom of Information Act made this disclosure inevitable - admits that he did not comply with Hague's specific promise; it is "blatantly political" to have any problem with that.

Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater, confirmed to the Guardian that he had walked out. "I've served on that committee since I've been a member of parliament. Tony Wright has been a good chair but three weeks before a general election is called they have decided to make this committee blatantly political. It has been totally politicised and is therefore not able to function as a proper select committee any more."

He denied he had been ordered to boycott the committee by the party leadership, saying he reached the decision himself.

It's no wonder the Tories are sliding in the polls. That's not even subtle.

A spokesman for the Conservatives said: "We don't believe that it [the Ashcroft inquiry] is an appropriate use of the committee." He said that the central party had not been involved in the MPs' decisions to leave the committee.

If you believe that, then you really will believe anything.

Click here for full article.

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