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I hope a full complaint is going into the BBC about Crick's behaviour during all this. His story last night saw him presenting as evidence the fact that the secretary/nanny hadn't written on facebook what she was doing 10 years ago. I don't know anyone who does that. Crick hasn't learnt since Betsygate and given he is now Political Editor for Newsnight is even more inexcusable. If he was doing his job properly, he'd be in Brussels exposing the MEP's.

Yes Andrew. Crick has made an ass out of himself and embarrassed Newsnight.
Three points.
1. The left wing, Labour and BBC hysteria over this matter shows how desperate they are.
2.DC has been vindicated. Again. He has sacked those he should have and promptly. He has stood by Ms Spellman and given her time.
3.It appears people expect Tories to be sacked if there is an issue? Do they expect the same from Labour?

Guido also has questions to answer. He was too ready to think he was getting another scalp. A bad day for him.

I hope that CCHQ put in a complaint to the BBC after this episode, especially after way it has dominated the BBC news for the last 24 hours. It only began to drop very quickly down the order of headlines late this afternoon, and even now when I checked, the updated article has not been given quite the same prominence.

A nasty non story.

I'm disappointed but not surprised by Crick. The BBC produced a good by-election program for Crewe and Nantwich, unlike the poor local elections program on 1/2 May. So I had been in a more generous news.

But Crick's behaviour sounds on a par with his treatment of Mr and Mrs Duncan-Smith in 2003.

Caroline Spelman has given full account of herself - she didn't deserve any of this anyway - and should just carry on.

in a more generous "mood" (I meant to say)

Well of course she's going to back up Spelman. That's because CCHQ have probably been on the phone all day demanding her to say something.

The reactions on here are pathetic. Much of what the nanny said in this statement contradicts what she was saying yesterday about only answering "a couple of phonecalls", occasionally opening letters etc.

If what she was doing was legitimate then why did the Chief Whip tell her to end it in 1998?

And remember, Spelman's youngest child was only 2-3 years old in 97/98 (not school age) so the nanny was effectively full time whilst she was also being paid for being her secretary.

This doesn't solve anything. Stop whinging about how it's all a big BBC conspiracy against you and get a grip.

We need to get the BBC Trust on to Crick?
How do we do this?

NorthernMonkey, CCHQ have no hold over this nanny. To contact her and risk armtwisting her into making a false statement would be a far bigger than it is.

On the subject of Crick, this is from the statement

'On the 6th June 2008 I received a phone call from Michael Crick from the BBC stating that he was doing a programme about Mrs Spelman and her family life with her being an MP.'

He didn't say he was from Newsnight and questioning her about an expenses fiddle. That's entrapment and wouldn't stand up in any court.

Looks like Melissa Kite hasn't been keeping up with the latest events. That or she is doing a 'Crick' and bending the truth to fit her spin?

melissa kite article

I think Guido has been a disgrace. He should get out of his bath of righteous self importance, ditch his preconceptions and make sure he does proper research before he makes judgement. As other posters have commented on the other thread he's no paragon of virtue in any case.

As for Crick and the BBC, what do we expect from the broadcasting arm of the BBC. Let's hope the complaints flood in thick and fast.

I meant broadcasting arm of NuLab of course. I'm so angry about the way this story has run today that I can't type propaly

"Well of course she's going to back up Spelman. That's because CCHQ have probably been on the phone all day demanding her to say something."

Northernmonkey, that would be an incredibly stupid thing to do - she would then immediately go to all the media and sell her story to the highest bidder; no doubt with the aid of Max Clifford! No this is genuine, despite what Guido would like us all to think.

Sky News is reporting this story fairly.

However, note how the BBC on its website phrases its coverage of the nanny's statement: "BBC correspondent Gary O'Donoghue said the statement went some considerable way to support Mrs Spelman's account of events. But Ms Haynes does not specifically say she was employed as the constituency secretary, or that this role amounted to 30 hours a week."

BBC caught out dodgy reporting and will not admit it!

I've just read the melissa Kite article. It could have been written by Kevin McGuire.

What was sickening about this was to see Michael Crick gloating over what he thought was a clever story. One must ask who he is working for- the BBC or the Labour Party bearing in mind the appearance in his piece of a Labour MP primed to remind viewers of Tory sleeze.

Having just read his blog I'd say to Guido when in a hole stop digging. On Spelman Guido's been a bit of a prat, in marked contrast to say, Iain Dale, and Guido might rescue some credibility if he had the honour to admit it and apologise.

You know one of NuLab and Brown's pathological weaknesses is an inability to say sorry aand admit they got it wrong. It looks like Guido's caught the bug.

Haveing worked very hard for Crewe and Nantwich, I was disgusted by my wife being being telephoned by Mrs Spelman and virtually told to go and help, just as we returned from Crewe on a damp Sunday. Our Association did about 40 man women days up there, including travellin time and my wife and I did eight of those. This woman needs to get on top of her job and her husband off the MEP slate and back her up . If this dont happen I will believe she is in it for the money only.

Crick is completely detestable, isn't he? Perhaps the voluntary wing, ie us, can demand some of his time at Conference. Like most of the media he walks around it in a clear glass bubble, eyes fixed on the distant vision of his self-importance. Let's break the bubble this year and have thousands of us telling him what we think of him.

I Hve been away and no doubt have not followed all the details but I don't quite understand the seemingly unconditional support for Caroline Spelman on this. The questions are (a) do parliamentary allowances allow for public money to be spent on private childcare for MPs and (b) was there any apportionment whereby Mrs Spelman paid the fair proportion of this employee's time that was spent on childcare and the State paid the time spent on secretarial duties? If the answer to both questions is no, she should resign at once, in my view both as an MP and as Party Chairman.

These people just have to get real. Public funds are not there to be spent on any private purpose that an MP might fancy.

My wife and I have a nanny because we both work. We do not expect our employers (one public sector and one private sector) to pay for her. Indeed we pay her income tax & NI out of our taxed income. That is what you do if both parents chose to work.

Perhaps some of you who have not just returned from a week abroad like me might like to tell me where I have got the wrong end of the stick please?

Graeme, what I think of Crick and Guido for that matter are unprintable. However, in one of those delicious twists, the Spelman non story and the ICM poll will reduce the impact of the MEP stuff.

Londoner, check out Iain Dales article on this issue. No one disputes the fact that the arrangement was unsatisfactory, and as such this was picked up by the Whips and corrected by Caroline Spelman way back in 1998. But equally, the unusual circumstances which saw her become an MP in 1997 without even an office to call her own certainly means that this case was not as cut and dried as first reported.
The finally irony in all of this, is the fact that the situation was picked up and corrected very quickly over 10 years ago, and within the first year of her parliamentary career. But for some reason, Caroline Spelman has been on the receiving end of intense media attention over the last 24 hours while others are basically taking us all for mugs here and now (all within the rules I might add!).
As I said on an earlier thread, when I look at the perks of being a married couple while serving in Parliament, this nanny saga pales into insignificance. Its the only institution presently run by this Labour government where it pays to be married!

Guido also has questions to answer.

I used to think that Guido had guts. Now (since his drink driving) I just think he's a prize plonker. His coverage of this issue has done nothing to improve.

Crick is completely detestable, isn't he?


I think Guido was at his best a few days ago laying into the meosm but I think he made a mistake going after spelman as he did.

"These people just have to get real. Public funds are not there to be spent on any private purpose that an MP might fancy."

Which is the nub of the issue. If Spelman is complete exonerated and the public is unconcerned then by all means allow her to retain her job. But if there is a whiff of anything suspicious or remaining public distaste there must be no mercy. Victory must not be jepordised.

I don't know what the hell i was on when I wrote meosm, I ofcourse meant MEPs.

because CCHQ have probably been on the phone all day demanding her to say something.

Just because you lot think bullying is a normal way to treat people doesn't mean everybody does.

You must tell your computer not to get so over-excited, Dale!

Guido has made himself look a little foolish over this one - but he's going to be like an angry wasp now!

Totally agree with you Graeme and I'll sign up to come round with you! Is there a drink in it for me?
Seriously though, it seems to me that in Caroline Spelman they picked on one of the most decent and honest MPs in the House! More fool them that it has blown up in their faces.

I blame Crick through and through for exploiting a relatively untrained junior secretary (for that, no disrespect, is what she was). She should never, never, never have answered Crick's questions at that time but had clearly not mastered the art of the polite fob-off ("I'll need to get back to you...") or even the answer-machine!
When you have worked in the Commons for a while you learn how to "smell trouble" and you know what to do. She didn't. The lesson for Mrs Spelman is to be aware of the pitfalls of employing young and dare I say naive staff?


I looked up "meosm" to see whether it was a new political philosophy or a lesser known ancient Greek one that I'd not heard of before!

As regards this topic, I emailed BBC News:

"You're making much of this Caroline Spelman story 10 years after the event and which, even if 100% true, is hardly of the greatest magnitude and raises questions as to the BBC's motives in featuring it.

In order to place this mouse of a belated story in proper context, will you now do a reprise of ALL of the politicians whose judgement has been, shall we say, less than shining white in the matter of use of their parliamentary allowances in the decade since then? Some of them might not even be Tory ;-) .... and btw I'm not Conservative, either."

this hasn't gone away. Spelman needs to disclose how muich she paid from her own pocket for childcare, how much the taxpayer paid, and disclose the ni paid as an employer.

we can then jusdge for ourselves whether an arrangement which fails the smell test was graft.

Ken Stevens 9.45pm

I absolutely agree with you. I cannot believe that people are getting flustered about this story in isolation. Surely the real question is why has the BBC brought up an 11 year old story on Caroline Spelman ,(of whom I have no particular regard) when so many Labour MP's including Blair, Brown and Beckett, have had their fingers in the till? It is the less than honest behaviour of the BBC I'd like questioned.

There is a lot to be answered on MP and MEP expenses, but any more discussion of Caroline without the context means the 'Nazi' propaganda unit at the BBC have duped you - and shame on you.

Mr & Mrs Spelman must declare much of the nanny's salary was paid by them rather than taxpayer. They should also provide evidence to demonstrate that taxpayer was paying too high a proportion of the nanny's salary. At the moment, all we have is a loyal statement from a former grateful employee. Hopefully, the Parliamentary Commissioner will clear Mrs Spelman but It is too early to say that she is not guilty of a serious breach of the rules.

It is also too early to excoriate Guido Fawkes and Michael Crick. Crick was right about Lord Archer, the former employer of Stefan Shakespeare who owns Conservative Home and employs its editorial team. William Hague described Lord Archer as a candidate of "probity and integrity" when he was attacked by Crick.

The Conservative Party must put its house in order. Chichester was right to resign. If Spelman has cheated the taxpayer, she must go too.

The nanny's statement reads like a witness statement prepared for a court/tribunal-----but then it probably is!

Oh how those that set the dogs on a few anti-eu MPs must be regretting it now that a container load of worms has been opened.

All these posters wanting to shoot the messinger (Guido). I'm sure it will amuse.

If she did nothing wrong then why did she stop the arrangement after a year? If she thought there was something dodgy about it she shouldn't have had anything to do with it at all. This strikes me as the key question that needs answering.

"If she did nothing wrong then why did she stop the arrangement after a year?"

Because though it wasn't against the rules, it should have been. On taking advice she realised that and put an end to the arrangement.

I'm not sure if mobbing Crick at conference is the best idea. Rather the word needs to go out far and wide that this individual should be shunned.

"I believe my answers accurately reflect "

not I suspect the everyday parlance oof a nanny

"not I suspect the everyday parlance of a nanny"

Depends how educated she is. Even if not her own phraseology, would you expect her to stand up against the baying mob unsupported?

Or is it only politicians that deserve/need people to draft their words for them?

There is an opportunity to tell Mr Crick what you think on his blog: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/2008/06/questions_that_sir_john_lyon_might_like_to_ask_car.html?moduserid=movabletype8_28599&pid=64560465&upm=False&asb=False&pmp=False#dnaacs

Providing you can get past the BBC scrutineers!

I checked out Crick's blog

It seems the BBC have resumed the Salem Witch Trials with Crick as Witchfinder General.

It is such a grey area ! All these rules seem to invite confusion by being arcane . Either she is in the wrong & must go or should stay as she has done nothing wrong . Quite frankly my worry is that we are at 42% now - but could that last during a general election campaign . In 1997 , 2001 & 2005 the Labour lead fell as the Lib Dems gained ground - as David Cameron is a centre ground leader like Mr Blair could Cameron's Conservatives suffer from extra Lib Dem publicity as voters look to the Third Party ? Therefore to be safe from the Lib Dems slashing our poll lead during a general election campaign don't we need a more effective Party machine to counter that ? My concern is that successive Party Chairmen have not dealt with the Lib Dems effectively as if the reduce our vote to below 40% we could end up with a Hung Parliament . This morning's Daily Telegraph proves that people are voting against Labour but to ensure that we are ahead enough to win outright that winning over Lib Dem voters is the main aim now . A 21% Lib Dem poll rating is too high and we should aim to get it down to 15% by love bombing their voters . If Caroline Spelman can do that then fine - if not then there are plenty of others who can no doubt get a grip on the situation . If we slaughter the Liberals in Henley then we can perhaps not worry after all....

Well I don't believe the LibDems are as high as 21% - YouGov has them on 18 and even they overestimated the LibDem share by 2 to 3% at the 2005 election and the London mayoralty race respectively.

As we saw at the Crewe & Nantwich by-election, people have high fuel and food prices on their minds rather than falling for pathetic and desperate attempts to smear individuals.

I have just checked out Cricl's blog too...the fool seems not to have learnt anything from this fiasco.

Yes, Crick's standpoint is fairly obvious, and the Spelman business is almost a non-story -- particularly with the bigger fish to fry that include those who (it would appear) deliberately set out to fiddle the system. It's a question of attitude more than anything else.

Guido did indeed go over the top on the Spelman matter, no doubt prompted by the feedback he has had on similar stories he has run.

Guido is a useful resource, but he tends (predictably) to attract the following of those who want someone or something to hate -- and it shows. This has inevitably caused a chain-reaction effect, and he can easily go overboard when something new comes to light. He will indeed need to apologise if Mrs Spelman is completely exonerated.

Personally, I'd say the best individuals to 'hate' are the dishonest and misleading Labour trolls (and we all know who they are) and dodgy mainstream media reporters (and we know them as well), rather than those who do at least set out to do the right thing -- and that includes Guido.

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