Tories may agree to open up sleaze inquiry
Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt. As Political Editor and then Chief Political Commentator, he previously covered the John Major and early Tony Blair era. He has written for the Daily Express, Sunday Times, Times and Sunday Telegraph, and Sunday Correspondent. He is the author of Mandelson and the Making of New Labour (2000).
Monday 31 October 1994
Ministers are resisting a Labour motion, to be debated today, calling for the committee, which starts its ``cash for questions'' inquiry into three backbenchers today, to meet in public normally.
But a carefully worded government amendment simply reinforces ``the long-established principle that the details of how a select committee once established should proceed are for the committee itself''. Tory members are under pressure at least to sanction the regular publication of evidence before the inquiry is complete.
Ministers stressed that, so far, the committee - whose chairman, Tony Newton, the Leader of the Commons, has acted in accordance with precedent by ruling that the initial inquiry into Graham Riddick, David Tredinnick and Bill Walker should be in private - has taken no firm view how further investigations should be handled.
Meanwhile, John Major was standing fully behind Jonathan Aitken, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, after he admitted failing to declare a directorship with a company called Fadace Ltd while a backbencher. Friends of Mr Aitken said last night that he had made no money from the company and that it was only an associate company of the trading company al-Bilad UK, which he had registered. Mr Aitken was said to be happy to discuss the issue with the Commons Committee on Members' Interests.
Tory MPs seized on the revelation that the Guardian newspaper, which first reported a discrepancy in the billing for Mr Aitken's two-day stay at the Paris Ritz last year, had sent a counterfeit letter, purporting to be from Mr Aitken, asking for a copy of the bill.
The Labour MP Peter Hain last night claimed that the Exchequer had forfeited pounds 9m in tax write-offs to Tory MPs who were members of loss-making Lloyd's syndicates out of a total of pounds 1.3bn written off by the Treasury since 1988 as a result of the Lloyd's crisis.
New allegations, page 3
Leading article, page 15
James Fenton, page 16
End this shambles, page 17
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Jennifer Lawrence face palms Emma Watson at Christian Dior show in Paris
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
Mick Jagger denies being World Cup curse and reason for Brazil’s embarrassing defeat
Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
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