Inside Croydon is looking to speak to members of the Croydon Conservative Association who attended meetings in 2009 at which the status as prospective parliamentary candidate of Richard Ottaway was discussed.
Nothing too deep. We would just like to discover what went on, what promises and pledges as to the veteran MP’s conduct were given, and how you must be feeling now that Ottaway has been forced to apologise (again!) after being investigated by the parliamentary standards commissioner over his failure to declare an all-expenses paid freebie to the United States in 2007, at the behest of his right-wing (and now somewhat discredited) mate, Liam Fox.
It is a month now since Ottaway was forced to admit to his latest failure, which he has tried to shrug off as a “cock up”.
Ottaway’s 2007 trip had been bought and paid for by Atlantic Bridge, a political organisation which was subject to investigation into its status by the Charity Commissioners and which, in September 2011, was wound up by its trustees.
Today, Ottaway has apologised to his constituents after the commissioner decided that this latest offence was “at the less serious end of the spectrum”. Meaning that an offence has indeed been committed, but Ottaway has gotaway with it yet again.
“I am very sorry that this has happened and I apologise to my constituents for any concern that this administrative error may have caused,” Ottaway posted on his website.
Has Ottaway – the man who infamously sneaked off on a sailing trip as Croydon burned after the riots – issued more empty apologies to his constituents than any other MP?
After all, members of the local Conservative Association who decided that Ottaway was fit to stand for election on their behalf might remember this statement, issued by them just two years ago: “In the past few weeks there has been widespread and justified concern expressed over the system of parliamentary allowances and expenses.
“Richard Ottaway has apologised to constituents for his part in allowing an indefensible system of allowances to develop,” Yeah, greedy MPs were the “system’s fault”. That’s a bit like saying that the riots were the “system’s fault”.
The statement continued: “He shares the local party’s view that MPs should act honestly and decently. We expect MPs to live by the same rules and standards as those they wish to represent. No MP is above the law.”
This all followed Ottaway being exposed as making claims for a second home, including things such as half the cost of an orthopaedic bed bought from Harrod’s, and gardening work at his house in Bletchingley.
Since then, of course, Ottaway’s election agent was allowed to take the rap over another “unfortunate error” over the MP’s election expenses in 2010.
So, we would ask: does the Croydon Conservative Association really “expect MPs to live by the same rules and standards as those they wish to represent”?
Or is it just another pre-election soundbyte that is proved to mean nothing?
- On your bike! Out of touch Ottaway’s latest gaffe (insidecroydon.com)
- Crisis? What Crisis? Ottaway’s getaway on his yacht (insidecroydon.com)
- Absent MP Ottaway doesn’t know what day it is (insidecroydon.com)
- Sadvertiser’s cheap photostunt amid other people’s misery (insidecroydon.com)