While Rochdale’s nominally Labour MP Simon Danczuk awaits his fate, with his party yet to confirm whether he will be let back in - or expelled - he has taken himself and ex-wife Karen off to somewhere near Alicante, the scene of their previous less than fruitful encounter, the one that ended up with the Labour Party siding with him and dumping infamously on those later christened the “Rochdale Seven”.
So Si and Kazza were not in town when news broke that the Danczuk constituency office was employing another member of staff, and that she was Nicollette North. Who she? Well, what made things a whole lot worse was that Ms North is, surprise surprise, big pals with Kazza. In fact, the two women are BFFs (Best Friends Forever). This news has, not surprisingly, led to a welter of adverse publicity for the MP.
What has made it yet worse is that Ms North does not have a CV that suggests an aptitude for Parliamentary casework, nor a track record in doing it. Early in April, she was working as a member of cabin crew for Virgin Altantic, letting the world know that she was stopping over in Atlanta. But by early May, one of her colleagues took to Twitter to say she would miss her. What happened to cause her and Virgin Atlantic to part company?
We don’t get to find that out, and whether Danczuk thought to ask is also unknown. In fact, nothing about the recruitment process has yet been made public, despite Ms North being, like Kazza, who - let’s not forget - was sacked by her ex-husband last year after he was forced to give her a final written warning, paid out of taxpayer funds, or to put it rather more directly, from the money paid over by ordinary people.
Danczuk’s favourite causes du jour are hardly helping his case, either: there were more than a few raised eyebrows in and around Rochdale at his claim to be championing local pubs, with many believing that the only reason was that he spent rather more time than was good for him in them, not least in the Flying Horse in the middle of town, from which he is said to have made an ignominious exit one recent Saturday evening.
Rochdale’s MP also makes no secret of his support for the Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance: while most Labour MPs would not go near Big Tobacco, there’s no stopping Si. Now, he’s added to that by bunking off to Spain with Kazza and leaving the pieces to be picked up by the likes of local Lib Dem head man Andy Kelly, who claims he is having to deal with issues that would normally be picked up by the town’s MP.
And now there is Nicollette North. If Simon Danczuk’s caseload has increased of late, perhaps there would be good reason to take on another pair of hands. But there is no sign of this having happened. Instead, locals are left with the distinct impression that their elected representative is laughing in their faces and just taking the piss.
It’s becoming clear that, if it wants to avoid reputational damage from his behaviour, the Labour Party has to expedite its inquiry process, and if necessary expel Simon Danczuk.