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My two theories on why Cameron decided not to act:

1. He fears that other MPs are also guilty of employing relatives who do less than a full day's work.

2. David Davis intervened on behalf of his old lieutenant. It is noteworthy that Iain Dale, DD's old chief of staff, is silent on the issue.

Considering the number of MPs that employ family members as their secretaries, it would start a very dangerous precedent to withdraw the whip for it.

It's malpractice, not corruption.

No relatives should be able to work paid for MPs. There is a blanket ban in the US. There should be here. Pay MPs £100K at the same time and ban them from outside interests at the same time.

Michael Rutherford, I thought it had been established that the difference between the Conway case and the cases of other MPs employing family members is that Conway Junior was paid £40,000 without there being any evidence that he actually did any work for it. In fact he was at university at Newcastle while he was being paid the equivalent of approx £25,000 gross pa, over three years, by his father.

It really stinks and Cameron should have done the right thing and withdrawn the whip as Conway seems disinclined to do the honourable thing and resign.

If Brogan is right and worse is to come then Cameron will have to bite the bullet and sack him. Something he should have done straight away.

Perhaps Conway should be compelled to repay the mispaid money?

it is quite simply an abuse of public funds by an individual who was elected to Parliament to ensure that the State executes its responsibilities to the individual with honesty and deference.

It is a nauseating example of hypocrsiy from a MP of a political party whose very philosophy is built on a fundamental respect for the sanctity of the individual over the state.

It leaves an appalling taste in the mouth

Another embarrassment for good Geordies everywhere.

The whip ought to have been withdrawn we cannot be seen to be stooping to the same level as others!

This a worry decision. Bad enough if he was seen to dither - but to actually make the WRONG decision does not bode well for his judgement.

Labour and the press are going to have a field day with the implication that he paid his son £50,000 simply because he believed he could get away with it.

HQ needs a slap. The public are very quick to forgive labour (they still have the illusion that Labour is the party of the people) - the tories have no such backing.

This will be bad, and Cameron will be forced to fire him later on - making him look even more wrong. There is serious and implicit fraud - labour's fraud is mirky and grey to the public, but this is blatant and will resonate. At least labour wasn't using tax payers money.

Truly shocking - Cameron needs to get the house in order, stop family members from being on the take and making sure the front bench is indeed full time.

Fraud and theft of the first order, this is worse than cash for honours or even donation irregularities. Time to bring a private prosecution, and Cameron to be cited as an after the fact accomplice.

Deep, deep shame

Fraud and theft of the first order, this is worse than cash for honours or even donation irregularities. Time to bring a private prosecution, and Cameron to be cited as an after the fact accomplice.

Deep, deep shame

Let's get real,if Conway was in the private sector he would have already been dismissed.

One rule for them and another for us plebs,the smell is awful.

One favour,please don't ask why so few people turn out for elections or why they are so turned off by politicians.

It just gets worse as Ben Brogan hinted. Tomorrows Mail front page reveals that, not only did Conway pay one son £40,000, but he paid his second son £32,000, and, as we already know, his wife is also on the payroll.


These Conways are coming to resemble the Kinnocks in the extent to which they have their snouts in the public trough.

Cameron must sack Conway without further ado and then call upon Brown to do the same with his own bad apples.

Conway must have the whip withdrawn immediately and his constituency association must deselect him. This is disgraceful behaviour, which will allow Labour to claim that the Tories are still 'sleazy'.

Cameron has to show that this party is different - we will not tolerate this kind of misuse of public money. In a normal job, this would be seen as gross misconduct and Conway would have been sacked on the spot

I don't have a problem with MPs employing family members, and even paying them above the normal rate. There has to be accountability, though. What those family members do for their money has to be transparent and tangible.

Cameron is so wrong not to have taken decisive and punitive action over this flagrant and dishonest abuse.

What credibility will the Cameron have if he is not seen to deal 'decisively' and effectively over this matter.

Conway should be de-selected as a Conservative MP, that would send a pretty powerful message and set a very high standard for all the Parties.

I believe all MP's expenses outside travel ( steerage ) should be ended. Commute their presesnt expenses allowance into salary, subject to tax like everyone else and it would be subject to no abuse then!

Cameron has proven that he is on their side not ours.

What is Cameron playing at?

The Labour Party will use this endlessly now to divert attention away from their Police investigations

Conway's actions were appalling and dishonest. Cameron MUST NOT be seen to be even turning a blind eye to this- if he wants to be seen to be credible then he MUST withdraw the whip and isolate Conway from his party- it is not as though his vote is worth anything.

I speak as a life long Conservative who for far too long have seen our Party shot in the foot by greeedy, thoughtless backbenchers. I say to Conway as I am sure the whole party does - OUT! OUT OUT!

This really surprises me. I would have thought Cameron could have actually turned this into an opportunity to brutally expell Conway from the party and use the publicity to tell the public that unlike Labour, we will not tolerate sleaze.

Maybe there is still time to act if more revelations about Conway appear.

His Lib Dem opponant at the next election, Duncan Borrowman (an ex Lib Dem official) says (on his website) that he has reported Derek Conway to the Police.

I remember Derek when he came up in front of us in Kensington. He pretended to be a hard working loyalist and we shot him down when we found out that he and his wife did not vote in the recent elections.

So it appears that in Cameron's brave new world of liberal relativism if you tell a politically incorrect joke in public, or express views that might upset the Labour party or Polly Toynbee, then you get canned. But if you are caught out in an act of brazen dishonesty at the public's expense then that is all right. He really has got his priorities badly wrong again and in a rather sick echoing of what Labour is doing to our country real crime goes basicaslly unpunished but thought crime gets jumped on from a great height. Yeuuch!

Oh and that's before we even begin to get into how this very poor quality decision completely undermines the headway that we were beginning to make on exposing Labour's institutionalised sleaze and corruption. Once again the ultimate losers will be the people of Britain.

Wakey wakey DC! Get shot of this scumbag now! It's MY money he has been giving to his son. I no more want to see this happening than I want to see, say, (insert name of New Labour politician here)'s son being paid extra money out of my pocket in addition to the taxes I already pay. Just for once, please, have the stones to make a decision.

Get rid of Conway even if he is big buddies with Portillo and the EU. His Constituency have plenty of time to find his replacement.

"Depart, I say, and let us have done with you". If Conway had a scintilla of shame, or cared an iota about the fate of the Tory Party (and therefore his country), he would have resigned on the spot. That the "crime" is in itself trifling is irrelevant; the damage he has done to the credibility of the Conservative cause is incalculable. And that Cameron appears not to recognize this fact is concerning.

I am extremely disappointed with DC. Now we have no moral leg to stand on, when we attack Labour sleaze, regardless of the relative differences that there might be.

More importantly, the parliamentary party is shown up to be the self serving club I had always thought it might be. If an MP can not keep their hands out of the till, how can we trust them to make important decisions on our behalf?

memo to Derek:

You are doing immeasurable damage to the party.

The only way forward is to resign now, today.

Here we go again! Another year and season of discontent.

Still the U-catastrophe is always fun.

It's worth noting he's been in trouble before for allowing his son to hold a private party on the terrace of the HoC. From memory the same son!

This, i'm afraid is awful, if only becasue after 10 years we can see the realistic prospect of government and we need to hold to the very highest standars if we're to lok like an appealing alternative to the "other lot".

Frankly he should have the balls to resign.

We had advance notice on planning the fallout on this. If David Davis did lobby on behalf of his friend, he needs to reconsider. The reaction in the media is already losing us support and needed to be killed at its birth. "Snouts in the trough" hurts. Conway should realise that he has to do the right thing and promise to stand down at the next GE and invite the whip to be withdrawn. Asking him to resign as an MP would just gift the seat to the Lib Dems and is political folly.

Compare and contrast Derek Conway not having the whip removed with (1) Howard Flight's forced deselection last time around for expressing a view on public expenditure that was not to the leadership's liking (2) Nigel Hastilow being hounded out of his PPC status by the forces of political correctness. Neither Flight nor Hastilow would have had to face down a high level charge of sleaze. Can we seriously afford to put Conway up again when he certainly will?

If I'd done the same at my job I would be sacked and the police called in.

That the party leadership seems to think this is unimportant suggests they are out of touch with the general public even before they are in government.

Deeply depressing and disturbing.

Looks like UKIP will get my vote in May.

They employ friends and family when they can get away with it.

The first rule of politics is still "don't get caught"

Cameron is happy to sack people when their opinions upset the ruling class. When its more difficult someone else has to make the decision. Looks as he is more like Brown than we all care to imagine.

Strong pressure should now be exerted on the local association in Old Bexley and Sidcup. Conway must not be allowed to stand again under any circumstances. The press for us this morning is awful- Quentin Letts piece in the Mail sums it up the best. Snouts in the trough all over again. Grinning and shrugging it off wont do. This man has brought our Party into disrepute.

Shame on any Tory MP who associated themselves publicly with Conway yesterday- I wonder if Roger Gale MP, Mark Field MP and Nigel Evans MP would shake a pickpocket by the hand?

Well, I was extremely disappointed with Cameron's statement. Here was a golden opportunity to show that we are different from Labour and take the high ground, and Cameron made the wrong choice. Conway's rather unapologetic-sounding 'apology' in the House of Commons is simply not enough. I fear that Cameron's act of weakness will cost us dear

The contrast with Michael Trend in 2003 is interesting: http://donalblaney.blogspot.com/2008/01/derek-conway-dead-man-walking.html

The last few weeks have shown the Labour Party in a very poor light and have once again raised questions about politics in the minds of hard working people who abide by the law and pay their taxes. At a stroke Mr Conway has blown away any Conservative Party claims to be better than Mr Brown and his Party. This is wholesale contempt for the public and the theft of taxpayers money and will resonate more with the public than Hain, Alexander et al. They took money from faceless opportunists. Conway has stolen from us, the British taxpayer. David Cameron will never be able to convince the electorate that the Conservative Party is different and has changed unless he takes decisive action against this Dishonourable Member of Parliament. Gordon the Ditherer and Dave the Indecisive. PMQ's will be interesting tomorrow. It will explain why, despite all of the Governments woes and the strange man that is our PM, the Conservative Party will never be elected. It does not do exactly as it says on the tin.

Very disappointing response from Cameron. He usually shows a great deal of wisdom over issues like this.

We need to get rid of Conway. He's a bad apple, and there must be people out there that can do a better job for the public.

This is a black and white issue. He has willfully stolen money from the taxpayer to enrich himself and his sons.

First it was Faith Fakers. Now it's Snouts in the Trough. Twice in a week David Cameron has failed to condem dishonesty and twice in a week he's been seriously weakened as a result. I've never been more disappointed by him. Pragmatism mustn't trump honesty.

I'm guessing that Conway has some dirt or, as Jennifer suggested, powerful allies. If so it's even more reason to stand up for what is right and show some real strength of character.

Of course Derek Conman should resign or be sacked. No doubt many other M.P.s do employ theirfamily in nonjobs milking the publicpurse but it is an abuse and he has been caught out. We must not risk being seen to be as sleazy as Labour.

The party should have a clean out. Whilst it is fine for relatives to be employed in jobs that are properly advertised, paid at a relative level to the work involved and actually can be seen to do the job that is fine, but given the position that MP's enjoy, they should expect some close scrutiny.

As for Conway. He has been caught. He has admitted his guilt. If he were a company director he would be fired, and possibly face police proceedings for embezzelment or fraud. Why should he be treated any differently than the rest of us? As a "shareholder" in the UK, I want to see discipline enforced in Parliament.

This is a case of simple dishonesty that is unacceptable anywhere let alone public life. Do what he did in the private sector and you will be sacked for gross misconduct and the police informed.

Derek Conway must go. For the sake of all the PPC's seeking to spread a message of honesty and propriety, for goodness sake GO!

What Derek Conway has done is very serious and it looks like matters are only going to get worse. If there is another investigation then there will be several more days of bad newspaper headlines and this may start to have an impact on our poll ratings, it will almost certainly take the focus away from far greater acts of financial sleaze taking place in the Labour Party.

Cameron should remove the whip from Mr Conway and send a clear message that while this sort of behaviour may be sanctioned by the Labour Party; it has no place in the Conservative Party.

To quote Blair we have to be seen to be "whiter than white". All our MPs must be on their very best behaviour at all times and all their records must be kept to the highest possible standards.

I and many others I know who are desperate for a chnage of Government in this country are getting just a little tired of certain Tory MPs behaving in this damaging way. It must stop now before it gets worse.

Cameron's decision action against Patrick Mercer certainly wasn't replicated with Tony Conway, even though the acts of the latter were far more serious in terms of honesty and integrity.

A very disappointing moment for David Cameron.

Derek Conway is a disgrace to politics. He is just the sort of dinosaur ‘old’ tory patrician who doubtless believes rules are for other people and not himself. He has made the cardinal sin of taking taxpayers money for granted, something that I cannot stomach.

If he was a socialist I would understand it; they are grubby, greedy articles who make a career out of scabbing off those who pay taxes - but from a supposed Conservative??


I am a Tory constituency association chairman. If he was my MP I would have him de-selected as soon as an EGM could be arranged. I just hope the Bexley chairman doesn’t succumb to Conway’s predictable attempts at clinging on, rejects the champagne fuelled overtures and rids the party of this disreputable parasite.

The Conway situation needs to be nipped in the bud. The second investigation on his other son is going to drag the Tories into the mud again and take the heat off Labour.

Cameron needs to make an example of Conway and tell the public that the Conservatives will not tolerate this behaviour. Dont go preaching about being whiter than white or whatever, just withdraw the whip and move onto the next issue. Be done with him. I know we often criticise Cameron for not being bold and going for the jugular, but on issues such as this, he must be ruthless. Mercer's situation wasnt the same to Conways and trying to make the two look similar is a pointless endeavour.

For the first time since the Grammar schools fiasco my confidence in David Cameron's judgement has been seriously shaken. He needed to establish the truth and then act, unlike Brown, fast.He hasn't and he, and we, will all lose because of it.
Derek Conway admitted his guilt in his apology to the House yesterday. He should have had the whip withdrawn yesterday and the process to deselect him should already have begun.
I have lost count of the times I have been told when out canvassing that 'you're all the bloody same'. The next time it happens, I'll be forced to agree.

It seems that an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that the conservative party of 2008 takes a wholly different view of sleaze (and thus distance it from the 'hang on at any price' school of politics as practised by Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major) is about to be missed.

Also about to go by default is a first class opportunity for DC to act decisively and swiftly (and, dare one say it, ruthlessly) at a time when GB is being pilloried for indecision and dithering . It is also a moment to set down a policy for the future that we will not tolerate any misdemeanours in future so that the leadership can always act promptly should the need arise.

As it is this now looks set to meander its way through a second enquiry that, given it is predicated on similar facts, may well go the same way as the first. If nothing is done until
then it will look to all the world as though we are following Labour in tolerating the practice of hanging on grimly by
the fingernails to the trappings and emoluments of office to the bitter end.

Voters will justly say :"A plague on both your houses".

In addition opinion seems overwhelmingly in favour of something being done

He has to go. No one outside of Westminster will understand how anything less will be acceptable. What is especially sickening is the sight of MPs licking the cream off each others’ whiskers and saying how free of corruption the British system is.

My comment was cut off for some reason and should have ended: ...and action now would also give the sense of taking the party as a whole into account.

My gut feeling is that Conway has to go! I don't like the man - he is pompous and in my opinion tries to be something that he clearly is not! Having said that, I have it on very good authority that the rules in the Commons for financial declaration are extremely complicated and it is incredibly easy to slip up. It is time we as a Party put the tin lid on discussing this subject and moved swiftly on!

No doubt now. Conway must go, and Cameron must ban all Conservative MPs from employing their relatives using parliamentary allowances.

Without a doubt there is a pervading wiff eminating from Mr Conway Snr regarding this matter. The committee have found that he paid his son tens of thousands of pounds for doing work, but is unable to prove what that work actually was. In anyone's else's book or employment that is 'fraudulant'. Now the revelation this morning that he had also paid his older son... well I don't think that leaves the Party Leader with any other choice but to suspend the whip from Mr Conway forthwith, pending a party inquiry. How can he be deemed to be a 'fit and proper' person to be one of our MP's when he has been abusing the system in such a blatant way.

If Cameron doesn't act then he is in effect condoning Conway's actions.

It would also serve as a due warning to any other errant MP's from any party that this sort of abuse of taxpayers money is wholly unacceptable.

I don't think that banning relatives from working for an MP is necessary, what would be more useful is that MP's should have to declare as part of their annual returns/ members register whether they employ/pay any member of their family to work for them etc

Integrity is everything. Cameron must now say that this new information means that Conway must go, as it is evidence of a more systematic approach to misappropriating public funds. Or Conway must resign. We cannot condone or even put up with this behaviour.

Sally Roberts

I think not, we need to be seen to be cleansing ourselves of the problem without delay

I think he's got to go in the wake of these prolonged accusations. On the subject of suspensions, what did Keith Vaz get suspended from the commons? Whatever it was, he seems to have made a comeback might may be a crumb of comfort for Conway.

How many voters, who were sick of Labour and tempted to give Dave a chance, will now be resolving to vote for the Lib Dems or UKIP or just stay at home on election day?

It is difficult to say, but I know that I'll be among them if he fails this simple test.

"To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."

Voters today will be depressed - though given MPs' history of venality perhaps not astonished - that Cameron is not taking decisive action against this man.

And Roger Gale's (who is he?) blustering defence - "this is not British justice" - on Radio4 this morning will have only added to the pervading impression of arrogance and corruption.

Or is it too dangerous to sack Conway?
How many other useless children have been "employed" at public expense, I wonder??

Last week Camoron was in his 7th heaven at labours sleaze, now HE dithers himself. Time for Cameron to show he CAN lead and not just PRETEND to lead.

As a resident of Thanet North (till the next General Election) and someone who has campaigned for the Conservatives in the last General Election its a shame that Roger Gale has come out the way he has in defending Conway. I understand why he does it but the Committee on Standards and Privileges has made its decision. Conway has apologised and Gale shouldnt be talking to the press about it. It just keeps the story going.

Cameron has fallen at the first. If this is what he does when someone is caught stealing from the public purse, what will he do in office? It's Tory sleaze again, and you all know it.

What do you think should happen if someone on benefits had lied to get extra money like this? You'd be all for throwing them in jail. Let's see some consistency.

We know it's Tory sleaze Passing Leftie,and that's why on every major blog there are almost unanimous calls for Derek Conway to go. If only the same could be said for Labour party bloggers with their reaction to Hain, Harman,Lee Jasper etc etc etc.The hypocrisy makes me vomit.

Indeed, Malcolm. Like everyone else who's commented here, I think Conway should have the whip withdrawn.

Some Labour people, to be fair, have condemned the sleazy figures on their own side, but many just want to make excuses for them.

Mr Cameron must without delay withdraw the whip from Conway. There must never be any room in our Party for MPs who behave in this way.

It is a very serious matter and I hope the local party will take action to chuck him out.

I understand that Mr Conway is a man of honour. If that is the case he should prove it to us today by resigning from the Commons.

If Conway had any honour he'd resign and end this embarrassing episode for the party.

If he had any honour.

He has to go.

It would be inconsistent of David Cameron to ask Mr Conway to resign over this matter. Why should he pick on Derek Conway, when he ignored the similar incident when Sir Philip Mawer had James Gray repay five months of salary over-paid to his wife from October 2006?

,,,,,a reporter on Radio 4's World at One opine that Derek Conway's case is ''relatively small beer'...

It's a mystery to me why Conservatives think the BBC is always against them. I found very little coverage yesterday afternoon on the BBC or Sky. If it had been a Labour MP it would have been on top of the news.

A commentator on Coffee House has this view which I tend to agree with:
....."However, note how the Cameron-supporting BBC has made a point of mentioning his - vindicated - accuser's BNP membership.....
....And would the Beeb have helped out a Labour MP like that these days? It wouldn't. All you Cameron-defenders are going to have ask yourselves what it is about your party that Auntie loves so much"....

It's time someone was able to say that the days of these comfortable little sinecures are over, and offer genuine work seeking members of the public an opportunity to apply for these well paid jobs.

If Cameron were to act decisively on Derek Conway now, I'm sure the support he would get from the general membership would blow away any lingering criticism that there might be from the opposition within the 'Westminster Village'.

Memo to David Cameron:

Sack Conway immediately and watch your ratings increase. Or then again, don't...

The choice is yours.

David Abbott

As someone who has been opposed to Cameron's leadership from the start, his reaction to date regarding this matter does not surprise me in the least. None of you should be at all surprised. You have had plenty of warning.

I cannot adequately express the utter depression I feel at the self-destructive error being committed by the Conservative leadership over this matter.

I am one of the "lost" instinctive Tory voters. After years of abstention from voting I thought I had a party I could vote for again, but it was yet another false dawn. I am sickened by Cameron's failure to deal straightforwardly with this. He is displaying the same instincts that I despise in Blair and Brown.

Even if sanity were now to break out and the whip were withdrawn from the grubby chancer, we are still in difficulty because we shall have to explain why the £40k was survivable but the £32k (or whatever) is not. So we are going to have to resort to NuLab spin even if we belatedly do the right thing.

Where the hell is Cameron today? If he ducks and weaves on this any longer, he has not lost but actively thrown away my vote, and I sense I'm not the only one. Has this party got a death wish?

What a wasted opportunity to show clear blue water with sleazy Labour.

Osbourne missed it as well. He should have resigned to "clear his name" and then come back in a blaze of glory a week later once vindicated.

Who am I kidding? Bye bye democracy, bye bye leaders. Cosy cartels are running the place as they have been since the year dot.

Roger Gale MP should now be told in no uncertain terms by the leadership to SHUT UP on this issue.

By publicly defending Conway he is making us a laughing stock.

What a wasted opportunity to show clear blue water with sleazy Labour.

Osbourne missed it as well. He should have resigned to "clear his name" and then come back in a blaze of glory a week later once vindicated.

Who am I kidding? Bye bye democracy, bye bye leaders. Cosy cartels are running the place as they have been since the year dot.

The difficulty is that if Conway goes it sets a precedent. I do not know if the party/ whips are able to say that they know other MPs are not using their staff allowances in this way. There could be plenty more fodder for this game if the government keeps looking.

Essentially, I think that the system needs to be fully reformed. Perhaps MPs should not pay their office directly? Staff could be employed by the Houses of Parliament, using set job specifications. Full transparency and accountability should be the aim.

What Conway has done will have already started to damage the chances of some who post here.This is a knock-on from the damage he is already inflicting on the Conservative Party.If Conway is still intact tomorrow afternoon he will survive,the party on the other hand will suffer,greatly,from then on I'm afraid.He has to be removed,very quickly.

Surely Cameron should have and could have taken the high ground by asking for a police enquiry into what appears to be theft.

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