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After Tory incompetence the scent of sleaze!

June 25, 2020 12:38 PM

ll[p (Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash)We have got used in recent months to stories about Government incompetence dealing with coronavirus the sum of which is best summarised by the fact that by 23 June, Britain had sustained 306,210 confirmed cases of Covid-19, compared with Germany's 190,862. 42,927 people had died from the virus, in Germany 8,895 . In Britain, according to Johns Hopkins University data, the current death rate per 100,000 people stands at 64.27. In Germany, the rate is 10.73.

Indeed obfuscation continues when only yesterday the Government admitted that over 40% of home tests for the virus are not returned even though they count those sent out in the published number of tests made. The result is a serious over-estimate of those being tested. You will recall it was growth in home tests which allowed the Government to claim it was hitting its 100000 test a day target a while back!

We now have added to the mix a good old fashioned sleaze story . This concerns Robert Jenrick the Housing Minister who backed a plan by the billionaire media tycoon Richard Desmond to construct 1,524 apartments on a site in the Isle of the Dogs, east London. This had been rejected by Tower Hamlets Council and had gone to Jenrick on appeal

What is not disputed is

At the very least this smells wrong, that a wealthy donor should gain access and lobby for his scheme.

On Radio 4 this morning challenged on why Tory voters in Doncaster or Ashfield did not have similar kinds of access to government as the billionaire, Tory minister Mr Zahawi replied: "If people go to a fundraiser in their local area in Doncaster for the Conservative Party they'd be sitting next to MPs and other people in their local authority, and can interact with different parts of the authority." . In other words if you go to a Tory fundraiser you get access and can lobby. That cannot be fair or right

Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat spokesman for Communities, Housing and Local Government, called on Mr Jenrick to quit over the controversy.

He told the PA news agency: "Jenrick's calculated decision to push through a huge development just in time to save a party donor millions exposes something rotten at the heart of this Conservative Government.

"Yet again we are seeing Tory ministers show it is one rule for them and their cronies, and another for everyone else.

"Given the minister has accepted that his decision to sign off the project was unlawful, he should also accept that he is unfit to continue to serve in that role and resign immediately."