Thursday 14 May 2009

Two Browns and a Morley - the real questions

The Morely revelations are cut and dried. No reasonable person upon seeing the story, and indeed hearing the reaction from Morely (first he has paid it, then he hasn't but he will) would be in any doubt that this was a matter for firing, and certainly that it merits investigation by the Police.

So there is a lot of explaining to do this morning. We are told that the Prime Minister is "very concerned" now that the story has broken, and will meet Nick Brown before he meets with Morely this morning. The first question he should ask Nick Brown is why action has not already been taken, given that the Chief Whip himself has known for a week. Unless of course, as is likely, the PM already knows the answer to this. Perhaps the Speaker was not the only one hoping that the threat of a Police investigation might stop the Telegraph in it's tracks.

The Conservative allegations have been shocking and offensive, but so far there has been none sufficiently clear cut for a party leader to fire on the spot and call in the Police. As angry as Cameron is, summarily withdrawing the whip (ie.. whilst there is a plausible explanation that the rules were met) would be counter-productive. There is no suggestion that the Morely case meets this test. His plea that it was "a mistake", even if true, is offered as a defence to fraud and therefore can only be considered by the Police, the CPS, and the Courts. The Labour party have no more right to delay this process now than they have had to keep it under wraps for a week or more. The real question is why the two Browns did not deal with this immediately.

Update: Cassius has a dim recollection of meeting Morley once, long ago. He was addressing an assembled crowd "How nice, " he said (or words to that effect) "to be standing here drinking wine and eating cheese amongst all these bales of hay". It was straw, of course, not hay which would explain why Nu Labour sent him to agriculture.

Update 2 (11:50am): It seems that Cameron has found a sufficiently clear allegation, and has fired Andrew MacKay - against whom nothing has yet been published. Although Guido reports that the police are discussing Morley, the BBC have said this morning that Brown still needs "more facts". Why should Gordon have to wait for the police before taking action?

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