Total deaths of British soldiers in Afghanistan = 276
Correctly, the Labour Party has suspended the membership of three former Cabinet Ministers. They are not part of the Labour Party that I have known and loved all my life. This is politicians behaving atrociously. At the heart of all parties are men and women of principle and idealism. Good people of all parties must rebuild the integrity that's been undermined by those devoted to mercenary ends. From the debris of the present shameful scandals a new idealism will be built.
I was interviewed for the Dispatches programme on the revolving door because I have had a leading part in calling for strict regulation of lobbying. Now there will be stringent controls. In future, PMs will no longer be able to prostitute their contacts and experience for personal gain.
I made a call yesterday for all parties to follow the example of the Public Administration Committee. Our strong report was unanimous. The Conservatives should join Labour and the LibDems in calling for a mandatory statutory register with full transparency.
From Hansard 22/03/2010
Paul Flynn (Newport, West) (Lab): The Member in question is not the first man to indulge in boastful fantasies while talking to a beautiful young woman, but should not this shameful episode convince the House of the need to follow the fine example of the Public Administration Committee, which united to make an all-party, tough recommendation to make sure that MPs could never again be for hire?
Gosh! There is no end to it. MPs are accused of breaking rules on overseas travel 400 times.
this times it is parliament's 'angels' and 'saints.' One is the greatly respected Andrew Dismore. He is member of the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee - the very body which polices MPs' behaviour.
He broke rules more than 90 times, following annual visits to Cyprus, by failing to declare the hospitality when raising issues about the island in Parliament. 90 times? Annual visits. He has definitely not been there for ninety years.
In total, he has tabled more than 200 Commons questions about Cyprus since the last election in 2005, on topics such as missing persons from the island and its victims of past conflict between Turkey and Greece.
Conservative David Amess has admitted failing to register a free trip to the Maldives - regarded as a "very serious" breach of the rules by the Committee on Standards and Privileges, according to the MPs' code of conduct. The Maldives? A long way from his constituency.
During a debate he tabled about the Maldives in 2007, Mr Amess told the Commons how his "splendid visit" had given him "an early taste of paradise".
"No words can describe adequately just how beautiful the islands are," he added, before suggesting the UK Government "could be encouraged to do a little more than is being done at the moment" for the islands in the Indian Ocean.
Despite leading two debates about UK support for the Maldives and asking 15 questions about the islands, he failed to declare an interest. Referring to the MPs' code of conduct, Mr Amess told the BBC: "It is for the member to judge whether a financial interest is sufficiently relevant."
Liberal Democrat Norman Baker, who has been actively calling for a clean-up of Parliament following the expenses scandal, has admitted breaching the rules on 37 occasions. In a statement to the BBC, Mr Baker accepts he failed to declare an interest when leading debates and tabling questions about topics such as human rights in Tibet. He has travelled to India twice, courtesy of the Tibet Society and the Tibet government-in-exile.
"I should have then declared a relevant interest in respect of the parliamentary activities you list," he said. "It is an unintended oversight that I did not."
This is unexpected as there angels are widely regarded as beyond reproach. These are vast oversights. I wonder how they found the time to visit theses lovely spots so often. Like all MPs I am racking my brains trying to remember whether I have ever been the guest of a foreign Government.
No. I don't think I have. I would remember India, the Maldives and Cyprus.
I tried to lighten the quivering sense of outrage at the statement about the foolish four who were entrapped by Dispatches. I do not believe for a second that there was any truth in Byers' remarks. I asked Harriet,' While Stephen Byers is not the first man to indulge in boastful fantasies when talking to a beautiful young woman, should we now follow the example of PASC and unite to agree a tough anti lobbyists policies that will guarantee that never again will MPs will be offered for hire.'
The first part of the question got a laugh. One day Steve Byers will see the joke. But not for a while. Quite rightly the Labour Party suspended them tonight. Their present going rate for hire is about £3 a day rather than £3,000.