A senior Tory MP has been severely reprimanded for using taxpayer-funded expenses to pay his teenage son almost £50,000 as a "researcher" even though there is no evidence of any work having been done.

It also emerged yesterday that Mr Conway used to employ his elder son, Henry, as a researcher while he was at Cambridge.

This sort of thing is actually fairly common in family owned businesses. The kiddies get put on the books while off at uni: it\’s a way of giving them money without it having been taxed already (although they obviously then pay tax at their, lower, marginal rate). It can even be said to be a business expense: you know, paying them while they are training sort of thing.

Unfortunately for Mr. Conway, being an MP isn\’t a family business, nor are his allowances the same as the revenues from a family business.


20 thoughts on “Two Sons?”

  1. Listened this morning to Roger Gale, MP, defending him on R4; “he’s being assumed to be guilty and expected to prove his own innocence”, Gale ranted. “That isn’t the way justice is done in this country”. Well, in theory, no, but anyone who’s had a camera speeding ticket recently…….

    When, oh when, will MPs learn that when in a hole, it’s a good time to stop digging? And when will they learn that we’re entitled to expect the very highest standards of behaviour since they’re dependent, nay, even parasitical, on those of us who earn our money?

    I’m with Serf. String him up. Or even better, fire him and let him earn a living in the real world. Am I alone in thinking, BTW, that it looks at though Henry’s £50,000 stipend might have bought him an awful lot of makeup and furs? What an interesting life people seem to lead when it’s funded by the taxpayer.

  2. I heard Roger Gale on Today and found him arrogant and over defensive to the point where I wondered what he has done wrong.

  3. My understanding is that he is being severely reprimanded because the guilt has been proved in that money has gone to the lad and work has not appeared. As Tim says, what is done in family firms is one thing – trying to survive in the appalling business climate created by those MPs among others – and what is done on taxpayers’ money is something else. Isn’t it extraordinary that MPs continue to make life difficult for us (even if it is simply accepting EU legislation that they do not understand) but cannot see why rules should apply to them or why we all laugh when they get caught?

  4. “That isn’t the way justice is done in this country”

    But this isn’t a private affair: it’s taxpayers money. So yes – he should be presumed guilty until proven innocent. It is indeed up to him to justify his use of OUR money. If he cannot or will not do so, he is not fit to administer taxpayers money.

  5. OT — I read that this morning and was reminded how much I hate the BBC calling the Conservative Party ‘Tories’.

    It might be necessary to fit a tight headline but not in the body of the article. You don’t hear them calling the Labour Party ‘commies’.

  6. Tom – All news organisations call the Conservatives the Tories, and indeed the Conservative themselves, leader downwards, call the Conservatives the Tories.

  7. Bob B.:

    Thanks for the link (to the Orwell essay). Simply magnificent!

    Being unfamiliar with the geography (any of it) and the political “landscape,” though, I was unable to discern the connection with the Conway matter.

  8. “call the Conservatives the Tories”

    It’s more convenient for headlines because “Tories” only has six characters, which is the only really convincing explanation. The legendary Mrs T had no “Tory” connections with landed gentry and not many “Conservative” ones either.

  9. “The legendary Mrs T used the word ‘Tory’ countless times, and to refer to herself.”

    But it doesn’t really fit the facts. As education secretary in the Heath government, she famously approved the abolition of more grammar schools than any other education secretary before or since.

    A frequent accusation levelled at her as PM in the early 1980s was that she breached the prevailing “post-war consensus” about economic policy, which was hardly a Conservative thing to do, and nor was “selling off the family silver”, as Harold Macmillan described the legislative programme to privatise the nationalised industries.

    The Big Bang in the Stock Exchange in 1986 tore down the previous complex structure of anti-competitive practices operating in the sale and purchase of financial securities – henceforth, stock brokers had to compete to earn a living. Then came the abolition of the National Economic Development Office and Council, institutions originally set up by Macmillan in 1961.

    None of that can be appropriately described as continuing the historic “Conservative” or “Tory” traditions. The one policy area where she truly displayed Conservative instincts was her evident tardiness about joining the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and how right she was about that.

  10. “As education secretary in the Heath government, she famously approved the abolition of more grammar schools than any other education secretary before or since.”

    Could we bury this canard concerning Mrs T and her “destruction” of grammar schools. Indeed Mrs T did preside over the abolition of a great number of grammar schools. The reason was not that Mrs T was anti-grammar schools but that the Heath government made a policy decision – in line with its manifesto – to give local authorities far greater autonomy. Guess what? The Labour LEAs (and many “Conservative” ones) closed their grammar schools. Mrs T was implementing government policy which had the closure of grammar schools as an unintended (but predictable) consequence. She wasn’t leading an anti-grammar school crusade.

  11. Thanks for that Umbungo, it always pisses me off that people still trot out that old line.

    Tory is definitely used as an insult round my way and I personally shy from the term. People manage to spit it out whilst they can only sneer with the word Conservative.

    This MP is a total prick and I’m guessing it’s genetic as his son (and here’s where I show how shallow I am) looks like a total prick too. If I was in the Commons I’d be half inclined to catch him in some empty corridor and give him a good hard slap.

  12. The Boy King needs to dump him NOW, because there can be little doubt that this has surfaced at this time due to the machinations of The Bottler’s totally deniable dirty tricks squad.

    I can just hear them now (especially the BBC):

    “See, they’re all at it, Johnson and wee Wendy are no worse than your lot”, etc etc.

  13. There’s an illuminating piece in The Times today about Mr Conway and his political career:

    Curiously, it omits to mention this aspect:

    “Conway, 54, is an unusual Tory. He was brought up on Tyneside where he attended a secondary modern and where his uncle was a Labour councillor. Conway himself was a Labour activist until his teens, when he switched to the Young Conservatives.”

    But let’s be clear about this. In these illustrious modern times, there’s nothing especially unusual about switching horses mid stream in politics and it can be hugely effective. I mean, Tony Blair, who represented the northern constituency of Sedgefield in Durham until recently, was first elected to Parliament in 1983 waving a party manifesto which would have committed an incoming Labour government to withdrawing from the European Common Market, taking into state ownership the commanding heights of Britain’s economy and unilateral nuclear disarmament.

    These are all positions which he now claims are grievously mistaken but then, as we have come to learn, commitments in Labour Party election manifestos are not to be taken very seriously.

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