Political

Today’s Conservative troubles round-up (UPDATED)

In brief: read the Mail on Sunday.

It has stories on Jacqui Lait (claiming £100,000 in second home expenses although her constituency is only 35 minutes drive from Westminster), the Wintertons (claiming costs for expensive alarm system that security experts say they don’t need) and Peter Oborne has more on Alan Duncan and whether he has properly declared his business links.

For a bit of variety, there’s also another Conservative (Philip Lardner) praising Rhodesia’s Ian Smith. Yup, that’s the Ian Smith who presided over whites-only rule, banning people from voting based on their skin colour. (The previous Conservative candidate to praise Ian Smith was Richard Willis.)

UPDATE: The News of the World also has a splash on four Conservative front bench MPs – “Tory’s £3m stash: Four high-flying Shadow Cabinet members in new money-grabbing scandal”. It includes more on the question of Alan Duncan’s links:

Also under fire is Shadow Energy Secretary ALAN DUNCAN. He made his millions as an international oil trader but now draws up the Tories’ policies on energy.

Duncan faces demands to explain why he did not declare a £160,000 donation from oil tycoon Ian Taylor. It was registered as a gift to the Tory party, but Mr Taylor’s spokesman said it was given to Duncan’s private office.

However, we can reveal Mr Duncan has also failed to tell the Register of Interests that he has now been made a director of Arawak Oil, part-owned by Vitol which is controlled by Mr Taylor.

Alan Duncan was quizzed about this on the Andrew Marr show this morning, though it wasn’t exactly the most searching set of questions… (see transcript).

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