Seven Tories face sleaze probes

So says The Sun. Paul Walter has helpfully done a round-up of the latest Conservative sleaze stories in today’s papers, including more news on Alan Duncan:

A second member of David Cameron’s shadow Cabinet faces a Parliamentary sleaze investigation after it emerged that his office is secretly funded by the head of a controversial oil company…

Vitol, which was Iran’s largest petrol supplier until last year, has been prosecuted after admitting paying bribes to Saddam Hussein’s government in exchange for valuable oil contracts from the Iraqi regime. It was fined $17.5 million (£8.8 million) by an American court.

The firm was also embroiled in a deal involving the Serbian regime in the 1990s which involved kickbacks being paid to Arkan, a war criminal. (Source: Daily Telegraph)

What’s striking is how negative the coverage is for the Conservatives even in papers such as The Sun and the Daily Telegraph.

Given the inherent newsworthiness of the stories about Conservative MEPs and both paper’s general attitude towards Europe (they don’t like it, except when choosing holiday destinations) it’s not a surprise that they are giving such prominent and negative coverage to that story.

However, it’s interesting to see that they have both also given similar coverage to the question marks over certain Conservative MPs rather than talking up their defences. That must be a worrying sign for Conservative media handlers.

UPDATE: Rather amused to notice that Conservative MP Nadine Dorries is blaming the “left wing press” for the negative coverage of the Conservatives over expenses. The Daily Telegraph and The Sun must have changed more than I realised since I last saw them in paper form.

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  • Robert Atkins once threatened to sue “Private Eye” for calling him “Dracula”.

  • Was Saj Karim payed before or after his defection? (Or possibly for his defection?)

  • Martin Land 9th Jun '08 - 6:49pm

    The problem with the never ending succession of sleaze scandals is that it just goes towards make people more and more pissed off with politics. So they stay at home. Who does that help? Why the Tories, as their supporters tend to vote come what may. Which is why, deep down, the Tory leadership doesn’t really care about sleaze.

  • passing tory 9th Jun '08 - 7:47pm

    It strikes me as though the whole EU allowances system is both extremely lax and very generous by UK political standards and I imagine that MEPs from all parties would struggle to justify their expenses against the everyday experience of someone in a normal UK corporate environment.

    Personally I am all for the Tory MEPs that have been uncovered being hung out to dry on this one, although I can’t help feeling that the sort of thing they have been up to is by no means specific to a few UK Conservative MEPs and what is really needed is for the rot to be cut right back – a large cull of the more unaccountable and self-serving elements of the EU.

    But you guys are supposed to be Euro-enthusiasts aren’t you? Shouldn’t you be applauding the Tory MEPs for adapting so well to the continental approach to politics??

  • Cheltenham Robin 9th Jun '08 - 8:26pm

    The press need to turn at some point. There is only so much banging on about Brown not being up to the job that they can do.

    The Tories have been riding the government’s unpopularity for a while now without coming up with any credible policies of their own.

    This vacuum is bound to annoy the media who will look for other stories such as sleaze to run about the Tories.

  • The numbers from the June Populus poll for the Times are: CON 45% (+5): 25% (-4): LD 20% (+1). Fieldwork took place from Friday until Sunday so the party shares do not seem to have been affected by “Nannygate”.

  • Thanks for the heads up on the new poll, davy. Heavens, it gets worse and worse and worse for Labour… I am pleased we continue to hold up very well.

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