Sour grapes, Guido?

Alas, poor Guido Fawkes. Blogger Paul Staines has posted so often, and with such utter certainty, claiming that there’s something dodgy about Sarah Teather’s expense claims that he seems just a mite reluctant to admit, “I was wrong”.

Which is why you won’t find him reporting today that Sarah Teather has been cleared by the Electoral Commission, instead insinuating that Sarah got off on a technicality.

For the benefit, therefore, of Paul and his readers, here’s what the Electoral Commission said following their review of the case:

… following the inquiries made during this stage, we have satisfied that there is no evidence of unreported donations to the Brent Liberal Democrats. We are satisfied that the evidence before us indicates that the Liberal Democrats have in fact been supporting your work as an MP and there is no evidence to suggest that you have been using your parliamentary allowances to support party work, or make donations to them.

It’s also why you won’t find Paul reporting that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, John Lyon, also looked at the evidence and has written to Sarah to say:

I would like to make clear that, on the basis of the evidence which I received, at the time I discontinued this inquiry I had not established grounds for believing that over the period 2004–05 to 2007–08—the period into which I inquired—your claims from parliamentary funds for your office provided support to the costs of your political party.”

And it’s is why you won’t find Paul reporting that after John Lyon dropped the investigation, he then got another complaint – this time not from a forged address – and rejected that too, saying:

He can only accept a complaint for an inquiry where he is satisfied that the complainant has provided him with sufficient evidence to justify his making an inquiry. He does not consider that the evidence you have provided, which he has already considered, is sufficient to justify him making a further inquiry.”

We all get it wrong sometimes, Paul. The grown-up thing is to admit it, and move on.

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  • Frankly I can’t see any votes being shifted by this. It’s all Westminster Village stuff. Entertaining for us anoraks but boring to the electorate.

  • Remember: if there’s no evidence for your claims, that just means the conspiracy is even bigger than you thought!

  • In Labservative Britain, innocence is just a technicality.

  • Painfully Liberal 31st Mar '10 - 2:34pm

    Tory Bear’s ‘smell test’ appears to be another manefestation of the “forget the conclusions of the enquiry, if I believe a thing hard enough, doesn’t that make it true?” argument so beloved of a certain type of blogger.

  • @ Jen


    @ Tory Bear

    “just because they cocked up the complaints doesn’t mean there isn’t a case”

    In the absence of a credible case, we call someone this word ‘innocent’; that doesn’t mean they are necessarily innocent in an objective sense; it’s just that we’ve tried erring the other way (“guilty until proven innocent”) and it hasn’t tended to work out so well.

  • Old Slaughter 31st Mar '10 - 2:50pm

    This is a system that has managed to get only 3 out of the 600 odd in front of a beak. You are now claiming that the failure of this system to dig up the goods are proof of innocence? I wonder how many of you jokers think that Campbell didn’t spice up the dossier just because of the results of the farcical enquiry? The Lib Dems and their glorious principles of convenience.

    ‘Labservative Britain’

    This is a great new idea. The general public think they are all the same so you guys will be the different ones.

    Just line up Lib Dem policies over the last few years and try and see the thread running through them all. Opportunism and desperation. High tax, low tax, somewhere in the middle. Like the teenage goth all you guys can do is work like bad to appear ‘different’. Also like the goth you do it in such familiar ways.

    Cannot wait for the debates. Giving the Lib Dems a chair at the adults table should be the best thing that ever happened to them. Except of course it will be Nick Clegg sat in it. How must it feel having a party leader no more intelligent, charismatic or useful than your average village curate or assistant branch manager. But then that’s the Lib Dems for you. Redefining mediocre.

  • Care to cite any evidence for that last claim, Guido?

  • Come on, Guido. If you want to make claims like that then you have to have the evidence to back it up. If there’s a smoking gun, you usually put it on your blog, so why so scared?

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