And so the New Year is upon us, but with many problems thrown up beforehand as yet unresolved. One of those concerns Rochdale’s still nominally Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who remains in Ron Hopeful mode, ever optimistic of a return to the Labour fold, despite his suspension at the end of 2015 over “sexting” a 17-year-old girl. Also optimistic are the media outlets still prepared to allow him to brief them.
These include the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who took out a king sized onion last November and told the world how Spanker Si had been mistreated by the Labour Party. That Danczuk was the one briefing The Great Guido was given away by the claim “the only real reason action has been taken against Danczuk but not Vaz is their differing attitudes to the leader”.
Yes, the old “it’s part of the Corbyn purge” canard. That brings us to the Manchester Evening News last Thursday, which told readers “Suspended MP Simon Danczuk claims Labour has 'no choice' but to take him back … The Rochdale MP has spoken out after being suspended for the last 12 months over alleged texts to a teenager”. Note how the “sexting” of Sophena Houlihan is, in the retelling, merely “alleged”.
And guess what? “Mr Danczuk says he has recently met with party officials and that a disputes panel of the national executive committee are due to meet next month to discuss his case … And he claims the reason his suspension has lasted so long is because he has been a prominent critic of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn”. Waaah! It’s all Jezza’s fault!
Do we get a Vaz comparison, too? We certainly do: “Mr Danczuk said he feared that Mr Corbyn and other senior figures in the party would use the controversy as a reason to expel him - and compared his case to that of MP Keith Vaz, who was accused by the Daily Mirror of paying male prostitutes for sex and offering to buy them drugs while he was chair of the influential Commons Home Affairs Committee, but wasn’t suspended by Labour”.
But over at the excellent Rochdale Online site, where you tend to get the right tale about Spanker Si, the story is rather different. Last Friday, their headline was “Labour Councillor Chris Furlong says the Labour Party ‘has no choice’ but to expel Simon Danczuk”. Councillor Furlong elaborated on his assertion: “He believes he has no case to answer. Obviously the party think he has or he wouldn't be [being] investigated by them … Anyone with an ounce of shame would have resigned by now … The Labour Party has no choice but to make his suspension from the party permanent”.
His justification included the following: “Sexts to a teenager … Using his taxpayer funded office for sex … Arrest in Spain for assaulting his ex-wife … Pictured drunk whilst Rochdale was flooded … Caught claiming expenses for car parking whilst on holiday - ordered to pay it back … Caught claiming £11,500 accommodation expenses for two of his children who didn't stay with him in London - ordered to pay it back and still being investigated by the Met Police … Self declared sex and drink addict”.
Plus the MP’s popularity in the constituency is little better right now than the proverbial fart in a spacesuit. It’s time Simon Danczuk faced up to the reality of his situation - and it’s also time that the press stopped allowing him to brief them on his own behalf.