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about time.

No sympathy. He'll still be trousering a couple of hundred thousand in the next 2 years and his MPs pension.

If he had any dignity he'd pay back every penny his sons received from the taxpayer for doing nothing.

I think that the tenor of this email and the low level of noise from Derek Conway over this episode reflects well on the discipline within the Parliamentary Party. Obviously the original error was worthy of censure but the way he has accepted his fate with relatively good grace should be treated with respect. I think we should all stand back and reflect that this is a necessary step but that it shows more than anything that the Party is incredibly united when something so potentially destabilising doesn't destabilise the party.

I agree with James.

Mr. Conway was undoubtedly in the wrong but the manner of his departure does him credit and it would be graceless to deny that.

What a contrast Cameron was to Brown over this matter.

I bet he had "tremendous support" from his family !

I agree with James.

Mr. Conway was undoubtedly in the wrong but the manner of his departure does him credit and it would be graceless to deny that.

What a contrast Cameron was to Brown over this matter.

Yes, activist, I agree. A very dignified exit.

Credit where credit is due. Derek Conway has, belatedly, done the right thing.

He could now totally absolve himself by donating £X thousands of his future salary back to the public purse and doing a Profumo style charitable absolution for his sins for the rest of his working life.

He must demonstrate repentenance.

I suppose he's standing down so he can spend more time with his staff.

Well done to him for standing down. In the Labour party there seems to be a culture that you can do anything and are not expected to resign for it. Good to see that Conway is above that.

I can't work out why someone already quite well off would risk his career and reputation for more money though.

The right thing to do and it's good to see Derek Conway is leaving with good grace.

I bet they'll be a few A listers swarming round Bexley now.

He should have resigned as an MP - obviously he has been told what to to - go gracefully but u can stay until next election - disgusting - I thought Cameron would have sorted this properly - another right mess

I just wish David Cameron had gone on the box and was seen to be really angry at Conway's conduct - "unacceptable" was just not the right word to describe it. He should say in very forthright terms that he will not tolerate any such behaviour from his MPs now or in the future.

DC must learn to get angry and show it about this sort of thing- the damage Conway has done to our image is incalcuable.

Credit where its due, Conway partly redeems himself with this dignified but very necessary departure.

James Brokenshire MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup please.

I've been caught, so now I'm sorry.

But at least the thieving b*stard's gone.

Hope the police still get involved.

Good riddance to Conway. One less greedy sleazebag has got to be a good thing.

Cameron comes out of this very well. Firm, fair, honest, and decisive.

What a contrast to the shifty, dithering, indecisive Brown and his tolerance of sleaze and corruption within his government and, possibly, even a part of it himself (Abrahams donations, Smith Institute)

He did wrong, has now been punished, and the whole sorry episode has not reflected too badly on the party and the leadership.

Personally, I know that Derek was a good constituency MP and won some important campaigns in Parliament.

Let's all draw a line under this, and pray there are no others about to be rumbled...

trueblu, I think the risk of a by election has the potential be leave a worse mess than Conway staying on without the whip.

One other thought. I wonder how Iain Duncan Smith is feeling today about Conway, his bete noire from 2001-03.

What goes around always comes around.

16:06 Andrew.

Absolutely.

And CCHQ will be doing its absolute best to deceive the local association into selecting a candidate on the basis of "diversity" regardless of party loyalty, talent or motive.

Note to CCHQ: KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF THE BEXLEY SELECTION AND LET THEM CHOOSE A CANDIDATE ON MERIT.

And, further to my point above, no by-elections please. Don't be silly.

The LibDems would win and it would knock us back in the polls - again. Long-term, it'd take ages for us to win the seat back.

Let's get real here..

He finally did the right thing.

The party and Conway both had one bad day more than was necessary on this.

Intersting that compared to Labour our MPs and Leadership act far more promptly. Not perfect, but much better.

Its a seat I know very well, the Lib Dems would be working from a standing start. Labour nearly got rid of Heath here in '97.

I think quite a few people posting here need to recognise the line in the sand potential of this and remove the vitriol. It was a necessary step, Conway is behaving in a very circumspect manner and is proving incredibly loyal in circumstances where he could have done a lot of damage. We should all recognise that and let the dust settle, otherwise we run the risk of doing damage to our chances. Please can we exercise a little restraint.


James Burdett,

Yes, I think that's right.

I agree with James Burdett's comment, he is behaving with great dignity, however if he resigned his seat now it would create a very strong precedent via a vis govenment ministers involved in 'dodgy donations' at present and we would have shown that we are willing to accept that when people make mistakes they should stand aside, immideately and with good grace. Something very different to the 'hang on by the fingernails' attitude of the Labour Party.

Following the smirking "apology" he is behaving with great dignity - having been caught.

OK.

But he is not completely stupid.
It will be - certainly should be - difficult enough for him to find new employment as it is.
(Even the cats might turn him doen...)
Causing a scene now would certainly seal his future employment fate.
He's not doing this out of selflessness...

"... every penny his sons received from the taxpayer for doing nothing."

What evidence have you got to prove that they did "nothing"?

I feel sorry for him, although the withdrawal of the party whip and this recent statement were necessary.

Watchdog - your comment really gave me a laugh - thank you! Very witty and I wish I'd thought of it!

Bexley, don't waste time, get James Brokenshire - clever AND clean.

so he goes at the next election which is when?it could be two years and thats two years he will be getting paid by us the taxpayer still as far as i can see he has commited fraud and according to some has claimed over 1 million for his STAFF over the last six years has he got no shame,he should go NOW

How I chuckled at Watchdog's "I suppose he's standing down so he can spend more time with his staff". That will certainly be easier for him if he's not in the office.

Good result - well done Cameron, well done Conway (today), and well done the Tory blogoshere (Monday).

Nothing about this man's grubby behaviour is graceful, dignified, creditable, honourable, or any similar adjective.

Pat on the back for not dumping his mates in it? Please. Just shows how low our expectations are.

We don't know it's all been claimed falesely Gnosis. To be seen as a good MP locally some work must have been done.

What always amazes me about this site is that some Tory members seem to have more bile against the Tory party than I do. Cameron has acted in a firm way and quite quickly by current standards. Conways career is over. When we had the oaten fiasco it wasn't a reflection on the Lib Dems , it was a reflection on human nature. I suspect fallen humanity is fairly evenly distributed between the parties. I sympathise with the idea there should be a by election but the law is the law as it stands.

Did a quick analysis on pbc.com and of the 8 Labour MPs suspended since 89, none stood down or were deselected at next GE. 1 of the 8 jumped ship to the SNP.

5 of the 7 Conservatives did. Every Conservative since 99 has stood down/deselected.

Different standards I guess..........

Let's all draw a line under this, and pray there are no others about to be rumbled...

Down on your knees, sunshine.

I will second James Brokenshire. A fantastic dedicated MP who will be without a seat at the next election due to boundary changes.
The pressure on his young family must be immense.
Apparently each selection he has been for the association pass him over with "how can he work for us when he is MP of another seat"?
The fact is he wont be an MP soon and time is running out for him.
As one of his present constituents who has nothing but admiration for James, I would very much like to see him selected for this seat.

Whatever happens,we have already lost Conways seat.On top of that,others will follow him.No wonder the public are already against funding for parties,rightly so I would say.Disgraceful to see so many on here condoning him being retained under the wing of honest Conservatives.There are many more disgruntled Conservative Members today than there were yesterday.

Good exit. Now his challenge is to follow through, maintain the dignity of these words and therefore do himself a service as he looks ahead to life after politics - and the verdict of the political history books.

Andrew Woodman
''I bet they'll be a few A listers swarming round Bexley now.''

Let us just pray the new candidate did not stand for Labour a few weeks back. LOL!

On a serious note, Derek Conway has ultimately acted in a very dignified manner.Thank you. Let us recognise that and move on.

I very much doubt that this seat will be lost simply because of what Conway did. Had he tried to emulate Neil Hamilton and battle on in the face of impossible odds, it might have been different.

There are certainly serious points above about the downside of excessive CCHQ involvement in selecting a successor, especially given the unanswered questions over how much they knew about Helen Grant's past and how far they deliberately withheld it from the Maidstone executive.

But let's try to turn this to our advantage. Has Peter Hain indicated that he will be standing down, and has he lost the Labour whip? Are the electors of Neath really so loyal to Labour that they would elect the proverbial donkey wearing a red rosette? And what scope might there be to agree a pact with the Lib Dems to allow a Martin Bell type candidate to oppose him - might this be of interest to his slayer Mr Guido Fawkes?

Cameron gets criticized for waiting 24 hours, as if sacking one of your MPs does not need thought. Brown and Labour ramble on for weeks, I do wonder that there is two measurments of political morals, one for the Tories and one for the rest. If we want that distinction let's be clear to ourselves and the media, otherwise stop bitching and respect the way it's been dealt with.

Some really abysmal comments here. Not that one can condone Conway's actions, not at all, but he has been forced out, effectively, because John Mann has a childish bee in his bonnet whenever Labour Cabinet ministers being caught out in really appalling monetary scandals, and spitefully wants to get one over on the Tories in turn.

Well done, all jumping to Labour's tune when they cry foul.

Those who talk on here about embarassing the Party are usually the first to do so on this very site.

Honerable , done the right thing , move on , what are you people on .
The man would still have been carrying on if he hadnt been found out and exposed .
Hes a damned disgrace.And I dont doubt that hes not alone .
Im only a district councillor on about £3000 a year but If I had behaved in such a way I would have had months of investigation by the Standards Board , a trial and no doubt have been barred from office for years and with immediate effect .
One law for the law makers another for the rst of us.

What a disgraceful comment by Margaret at 18.58 - so presumably you support corruption, deceipt and nepotism? I don't care what the politics of this are, I'm pleased that the vast majority of the party are appalled at this behaviour and united against it - that says something decent about the party, which couldn't always have been said.

I'm also suprised by todays talk of "dignity" - Conway didn't resign from Parliament, or admit openly to his corruption (he apologised for "administrative short-comings"), and he hasn't paid back the full amount. There's no such thing as a dignified exit when one has been found out to be corrupt and a liar. I'm afraid I now hope that he and his sons (who were adults at the time, and probably accessories) are prosecuted and punished in a meaningful manner.

Would agree with earlier comments.

Probably best that he's gone.

However please, please, please don't stitch this up CCHQ.

Can we at least say that the chosen candidate cannot have tried to be a Labour candidate in the last 5 years ?!!

I know this didn't apply in Ealing Southall, Gillingham and Maidstone. Can Old Bexley and Sidcup be different ?

Honest Councillor i agree with you,this man is a damned disgrace and he should not be able to get his hands on another penny piece of taxpayers money.

The majority of the above, praising Conway for agreeing to step down at the next election, is a lot of nonsense.

He's been caught with is hand in the public purse and he should step down immediately. If the police investigating this matter decide that he's committed fraud and decide to prosecute, his position is entirely untenable and he'll have to resign immediately.

Once that happens, I'm afraid you're going to be left with another Chislehurst on your hands - once the new Cameroonie apparatchik has been installed as candidate - if not actually losing a very safe seat, then coming darned close to doing so.

That'll put a dent in the Tory revival.

James Brokenshire...I don't think so.

He hasn't had much luck finding a seat yet, so whats wrong with him???? Maybe he should find a nice private company to work for.

I'm sure we will select someone in good time, who reflects the LOCAL community. And someone with a bit of clout.

Old Bob Neill proved A lists aren't always going to work.

As for Labour/Lib Dems here, well as they have no Councillors in Old Bexley or activists well it will be a fun campaign, but one which will be fought.

Whatever criticisms can be levelled at Bob Neill's campaign in Bromley, one thing certainly isn't right. He wasn't on the 'A' List.

He should quit. Otherwise the media can just keep putting up photos of him or his family at any month end "collecting more taxpayers money in this month's paypacket" etc etc.

Losing the seat now to the Lib Dems would do less damage overall than having Derek Conway around as a running gag on any slow news day.

Excuse me??? what is all this "dignified" rubbish?????

The guy has not offered a shred of evidence against the allegations that he is guilty of a massive fraud!

He should go now, and not collect any more taxpayers money.

Todays headline had his family already in receipt of more than most people hope for from a lottery ticket. That could run up to £2 million by the next election.

Even if he isn't standing, it will be easy to say "You want to vote for the party that kept on Derek Conway?" "£2 million - nice work if you can get it (and there's no need to do it)" etc etc.

It doesn't matter that Labour MPs won't say it as they are just as far in the trough. The media can pick it up whenever they like - hate-figures sell.
Cameron and Davis should shift this hostage to fortune.

Traditional Tory - why are you nearly always totaly wrong on everything? And you hide behind a pseudonym.

On this seat, the lib Dems could have stupendous momentum in a by election.

What a load of sententious, disingenuous crap. If you think that Conway is bad beyond redemption, there is *no* case for him staying as an MP. Yet, bar one, not one poster has called for him to go. And why's that? because you're all putting the pary's interests before right and wrong, the very thing you have all leaped on your high horses to chunter on about. To repeat: if Conway is not fit to have the whip, hye's not fit to be an MP. The moralists should be calling for a by-election, yet none of you are. Pathetic, truly pathetic.

Hmmm. There's a lot of new bizarre pseudonyms on this thread tonight. Troll Alert?

'On this seat, the lib Dems could have stupendous momentum in a by election.'

Actually the yellow peril have a dodgy charactor called Borrowman who isn't liked by some of the 100 local Lib Dem Members.

The last Lib Dem Councillor defected to the Tories in 2005 (he was lonely being all on his own), and in the 2006 Council Elections they mostly slipped from 3rd to 4th/5th place in most wards (they only had enough members for a couple anyway). Their candidates mostly had habits such as muttering and talking to themselves and looking like rejects from bad taste school wearing dirty mac's...I'm serious, this is a genuine description. They all clubbed together to buy a tie for their photos!!

Now in the case of a bye election we all know the rubbish they will turn out, usual dodgy charts, two horse race blah blah. Just look at the dirty campaign they ran against Bob in Bromley.

I'd sooner Derek stayed on and put time back into the Community then that lot start sniffing around. A new candidate will be chosen and the General election will come round before you can say 'dirty mac curtain twitcher'

Better the devil you know, then Lib Dem rubbish.

The Lib Dems are way back in third place here as Howard has described.

They're a nasty vile bunch of smearers.

Oh, and BTW, Gloy Plopwell sounds like a drug addict with the runs.

bar one, not one ???

He has behaved with great dignity?! What planet are some of you on?

He might have a posh accent but he is nothing short of a common criminal. I find it amazing that Conservatives - quite rightly - castigate benefit cheats but refuse to censure this thief. He profited from the common purse. Jail him don't exonerate him.

I am very pleased that Mr Conway will not be standing for our great Party at the next election.

He must now pay back all of the tax payers money that he passed on to his Sons.

Once again well done to David Cameron, Guido, Tim and the posters on the various sites for the part they played in helping to get the whip removed from this silly MP.

Howard. I got a 100% vote in the candidate selection.

'Howard. I got a 100% vote in the candidate selection'

You should hear what they are saying about you when your not around (unless they are muttering to themselves).....

I suppose you should be congratualted on 100%. Especially as so few ACTUALLY VOTED. I suppose 100% is good when you have the same amount of members as the Year 7 intake of a mid scale Secondary School, accross the whole Borough.

Having lost the whip, he was unlikely to be re-selected anyway and so he's accepting the inevitable.

I suppose he's standing down so he can spend more time with his staff.

Posted by: Watchdog | January 30, 2008 at 16:04


Hugo Rifkind salutes you in his Times column today.

Borrowman's actions over the Conway problem shows exactly why he shouldnt and mustnt be an MP. It was a low ball thing to do and shows a distinct lack of dignity. If he had any decency he would have waited to see if the Met wished to investigate, rather than going to the police like a school kid grassing someone in for smoking behind the cycle sheds.

... so he can spend more time with his staff.

I noticed last night that Jeremy Paxman used the same line too. I wondered if he was inspired by Watchman's comment or whether there was a closer link???

Howard (00:38) - Were you by any chance educated while there was a Conservative Government? Your spelling is atrocious.

Jeremy Paxman used exactly the same phrase on Newsnight last night Watchdog/Sam. I wonder if he reads CH?

James Maskell (09:25)
Would the Met have investigated if no complaint had been made?

Clockwork Mouse 09:56

Thank you so much, actually no. However I am a School Governor in a School being destroyed by Labour policies so things have got worse. At least I don't feel the need to use 'text language' like th youth of today.

Thank you so much for pointing to my spelling, its good to know the important matters are being addressed.

Next time I make comments past midnight I wil make sure my wife/secretary has her dictionary ready. Alhtough as most Lib Dems can't read, its not really a problem. Dear old Duncan didn't seem to mind

Howard (10:05)
Three more errors!

The comment in a previous post about James Brokenshire MP not being suitable for Old Bexley & Sidcup can only have been posted by a Labour troll. James WON his seat last time from a very popular Labour MP who was anti-Iraq. Giving local associations autonomy over candidate selection has given us some very mediocre candidates in recent times. James is young, bright, energetic and diligent. In short, Cabinet material. I really would like to see Party HQ and Spelman show the smack of firm leadership here and somehow impose James on the local association, in the same way that Labour frequently do with far lower calibre people like Woodward, Howarth and Jack Dromey.

Hopefully James will go for the seat. We are sick of glib, ex Labour Party retreads standing in our good seats. Lets do something for our decent candidates.

I see Howard is assisted by his wife/secretary. Do his children help too? Are they paid?

Yikes!

Calm down Watchdog. Not the former Leader Howard, but the one who has been posting here, and has such incandescent anti-Liberal Democrat views, not helped by his inabilty to spell.

'I see Howard is assisted by his wife/secretary. Do his children help too? Are they paid?'

No you fool I was taking the piddle...

Actually my Son in Law deals with the office, as we do have a family business but in Sidcup not Westminster.

As for James Brokenshire, tell him to apply but I doubt he will be a front runner here, nobody seems to have heard of him.
The local Association will deal with the issue if people try to impose a candidate.

London Tory, are you James's wife? Are you working in his office right now?

Nobody seems to have heard of James Brokenshire, Howard? I have often found Conservatives have little knowledge of Conservative policies or MPs, and blatantly proclaim it.
Your spelling is improving. Well done. Perhaps you will be able to retain your position of School Governor.

Howard

#As for James Brokenshire- tell him to apply but nobody round here seems to have heard of him~

I am no relation to James Brokenshire. I just have an up to date knowledge and first hand experience of our current parliamentary party. Unlike you it seems. I am also a member in an area not too far from Old Bexley and Sidcup.

I do find it worrying that in seats like yours the members do not have any idea of the calibre of people likes James Brokenshire- and others I might add. Yet local associations are consistently duped by candidates who voted for, stood for and financially supported the Labour Party only a matter of months ago.

London Tory,

I look at local issues like most local people here do.

I take it you work for either the Party or for someone in the House of Commons.

You state to have first hand knowledge? Is this the campaign to take our rights (as an Association) away from us starting early?

Curious words London Tory.

Howard

We obviously both want the best possible candidate to replace Conway. I just happen to believe that we have made some mistakes recently in this area. Tony Lit, Helen Grant and Louise Bagshawe spring to mind. And the candidate in Rochester and Strood. We are leaving ourselves open to the charge of 'jonny come lately' expediency. Tony Lit made a total fool of himself in Southall, and Jacqui Smith had a ready made put down for Bagshawe on Question Time- crafted by Millbank no doubt- which totally sunk her.
I wish Old Bexley and Sidcup all the best in their choice of candidate, but genuinely think that James Brokenshire would be an excellent choice for you. Whats more, unlike those mentioned he deserves one of our plum seats.

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