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Monday, 30 May 2011

Guido Fawked – Not Asking The Questions

The Bank Holiday weekend draws to a close, and Chris Huhne is still in the cabinet, still an MP, and still not charged with election expense irregularity, or anything to do with whether or not he was at the wheel somewhere between Stansted Airport and Clapham in March 2003.

Following the speculative report in yesterday’s Mail On Sunday, which relies heavily on “sources close to the investigation”, came another attempt by Paul Staines and his tame gofer Henry Cole at the Guido Fawkes blog (back story HERE and HERE) to keep the story going. But the post was no more than a re-hash of what the MoS had already published.

So, to assist the less than dynamic blogging duo, here are some of the questions that they might consider asking if they really want to do some investigative digging, rather than indulge in lazy churnalism. For starters, although nobody who was at the LSE dinner Huhne’s ex-wife attended that evening will say if she left early, there are ways in which the “Stansted and back” idea can be tested.

After Huhne received a driving ban later in 2003, Vicky Pryce drove for him, so it must be concluded she was named on the insurance policy covering his BMW 7-series. Was she already covered before his ban? If not, she couldn’t have been at the wheel if it was the BMW that was supposedly “flashed” on the M11.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request could be made to establish whether Huhne made an expense claim for car parking at Stansted Airport the week of the speeding offence. If he did, he’s stuffed, but if not, it suggests someone drove the car out to Stansted to collect him.

Did Huhne check a bag? This might seem trivial, but the extra time taken waiting by the baggage carousel feeds into the timeline. Also, the long stay car parking at Stansted is several minutes’ bus ride from the terminal, and not adjacent as at airports like Liverpool. This, too, feeds into the timeline. And did any of the car park bus drivers remember seeing him?

If Ryanair, with whom Huhne is supposed to have travelled, can confirm that he was on the flight from Strasbourg to Stansted, then they should be able to say if he checked a bag. Moreover, the time that the aircraft was “on chocks” and disembarked should be available (right now, just the landing time is known).

If Staines and Cole are serious about their investigation, there is plenty for them to get their teeth into. But just recycling an MoS article, which itself is speculative, doesn’t cut it.


Mark Pack said...

Well, they could hardly do worse than their mis-reporting of a cycle route meeting as an emergency Lib Dem summit...! (Details at http://ldv.org.uk/24269)

Tim Fenton said...

Hi Mark, thanks for looking in.

I linked to both your posts on the Eastleigh meeting in two posts I did earlier - those are the "back story" ones.

I did get the impression that Cole in particular has convinced himself that kicking a politician in the Fawkes blog for a couple of weeks should cause them to resign as a result, and that he's visibly distressed that Huhne has not, so far, accommodated him.

Harry Cole said...

It's Harry, not Henry.

MEPs got free parking at Stansted for some absurd reason, tried to look at that.

Likewise with the other points. Ryan Air refused to answer details of the flight list including bags etc. But are cooperating with the police investigation.

jailhouselawyer said...

Who's Henry Cole? Don't you mean Harry Cole?

Tim Fenton said...

@3 and @4, I got the name right the first time.

But good to see you looking in, Mr C.