Current Affairs

No investigation into MP’s payments to family

Tony Grew March 20, 2008
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The Metropolitan police will not be investigating former Tory MP Derek Conway about payments he made to two of his children for “working” for him.

Scotland Yard announced this evening that it did not believe it was “appropriate.”

“The lack of systems in this case to account for MPs’ expenses would severely undermine the viability of any criminal investigation leading to a prosecution,” a spokesperson said.

“In these circumstances we do not believe that it is appropriate for a police investigation to be instigated.”

In January Mr Conway was suspended from the House of Commons for ten days and ordered to repay more than £13,000 after the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee decided he had effectively defrauded the taxpayer.

He was censured by the committee for paying his son Frederick £50,000 of public money for “work” as a researcher.

No evidence of any work done was discovered.

At the time his son was a fulltime undergraduate student at Newcastle University.

Mr Conway’s elder son Henry, who is gay, had received similar payments during his time at university, totalling £32,000.

His wife, Colette, has been paid more than £290,000 since he entered Parliament in 2001 in her role as his secretary.

The tabloid press widely reported that Henry, who is described as a “socialite” and fashion writer, is a patron of upmarket London gay clubs.

The Sun said: “He is a regular at clubs like The Shadow, which is popular with Elton John and David Furnish,” presumably a reference to the Shadow Lounge in Soho.

Another quote from the paper, echoed in the Daily Mail, reads: “he describes himself on the internet as ‘blond, bouncy and one for the boys.'”

Mr Conway accused the media of homophobia over the way his son’s personal life was reported.

“One newspaper even tried to suggest that he’d had a sex-change on the NHS,” he said.

“It is complete rubbish. These homophobic clowns think every gay wants to be a woman.

“Why should he be pilloried for being gay? He’s my son.”

The entire incident has led some to question if MPs should be allowed to employ family members.

An estimated 177 other MPs, among them 95 Labour MPs, two members of the Cabinet, and 75 Tories, employ members of their family using tax payers money.

Mr Conway is the MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup in outer London. David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative party, decided to remove the whip from Mr Conway, effectively isolating him in Parliament.

In January he announced he would not be standing at the next election.

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