Friday, May 22, 2009

Anthony Steen is a gift to David Cameron

Is David Cameron embarrassed by Anthony Steen?

Incredibly, he blamed Labour for introducing freedom of information laws, before adding: 'I have done nothing criminal. Do you know what it's all about? Jealousy.

'I have got a very, very large house, some people say it looks like Balmoral. . . but it's a merchant's house of the 19th century. It's not particularly attractive, it just does me nicely.'

Mr Steen, who will stand down at the General Election after 35 years, insisted he had behaved 'impeccably' and dismissed the scandal threatening the entire political system as similar to 'an episode of Coronation Street'.

Mr Steen claimed more than £80,000 from the taxpayer over four years for work at his £1million Devon mansion, including for the treatment of trees.

Asked whether he believed his expenses claims should have been revealed, he said: 'No. What right does the public have to interfere with my private life? None.'

Not a bit of it.

Ever since he became leader, Cameron has had the task of decontaminating the Tory brand. How can he convince voters that the Tories do not care only for the rich and powerful?

Then along comes Anthony Steen playing a pantomime villain, giving Cameron the chance to slap him down and give the impression that his party has changed. Never mind that Cameron's father-in-law owns a large part of the Home Counties: this episode has given him his Clause IV moment.

There is another point. I was chatting to a former Labour MEP last night, as one does, and she pointed out that forcing a few knights of the shires out of the Commons at the next election over things like duck houses will give Cameron some safe seats into which he can parachute some bright young things from Central Office.


Manfarang said...

It's all grist for Cameron's mill.

HE Elsom said...

Are there going to be any safe seats at the next election? Apart, that is, from the handful of MPs who have been labelled "angels", as long as nobody notices that they've bought biccies for their office staff.

Cameron is doing reasonably well being the opposition within his own party, but there is so much anger out there that I doubt if he can really control it.

dreamingspire said...

Oooh, Jonathan, you are coming very close to voting Tory now.

crewegwyn said...

So, you put a "duck house" down on the list, but it doesn't get paid. Cost to the public - nil. End of parliamentary leader.

But if you have wisteria removed from your property .... ??

crewegwyn said...

Sorry, for leader read career !!!