The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog were ecstatic yesterday: they had been sent a series of photos that, so they claimed, showed Labour MP Sadiq Khan, who is also a road safety campaigner, using his phone while at the wheel of his VW Golf. They even gave out a number “for picture syndication”, in a customary show of rank pretentiousness.
The image Paul Staines wants you to see ...
Sadly, the press outlets that did run this dubious story – the photos are not clear enough to tell what Khan is holding in his left hand – have had to caveat and qualify it rather heavily. Typical was the Mail, telling “he was accused of using his mobile phone while driving ... A picture sent to the Police appeared to show the ... MP for Tooting ... with a phone in his hand”
As for the Fawkes rabble crowing that Khan was “driving in the bus lane, blocking the path of the NHS vehicle, which Guido understands to be an organ transport van”, the Mail did not even bother with that. The van, after all, did not have its blue lights on, and was therefore as much in the wrong as whoever was driving the Golf – and it had strayed into the bus lane somewhat earlier.
This morning, The Great Guido is trying to prolong the life of this story, but a thought has already entered: bad road behaviour and VW Golfs is a subject that Staines knows rather more about than he is letting on. It was back in 2008 that he was at the wheel of such a vehicle, somewhere between the Kennington Tandoori and Victoria Station, when the Met’s finest pulled him over.
... and the one he would rather you didn't
Staines’ own words show why: “I had been speaking at the Adam Smith Institute. They have made a lot of money so the booze is usually pretty good. I moved on with a few people to the Westminster Arms, where I bought drinks, and then to the Kennington Tandoori to show everyone the picture of Prezza on the wall. Then I was giving a few people a lift to Victoria station when the f***ers pulled me over”.
He had been “driving at speed in the Kennington area”. This set off a speed camera. The rozzers stopped him. He “seemed to be having difficulty staying in a straight line ... [Staines’] eyes were bloodshot, he strongly smelt of alcohol and his pupils appeared to be dilated”. It is believed that having the Golf registered in his wife’s name is the only thing that stopped the court seizing it.
The Great Guido was banned from driving for three years – it was, after all, his second drink-driving offence – a three month 2100 to 0600 hours curfew enforced via electronic tag, and an 18 month supervision order. Yes, a 41 year old man was given a supervision order. And this is the same person pretending to sit in judgment on someone who, he claims, glanced at his phone while sitting in queuing traffic.
You didn’t know Paul Staines was a shameless hypocrite? You know now.