After the revelations concerning
Robert Jenrick, nominally the Tory MP for Newark-on-Trent although he seems to spend more time in Herefordshire, one might have thought that the Tory Party did not want to have any of its leading lights suggesting that they were prepared to behave less than totally ethically when it came to planning decisions. But such a thought would have been badly misplaced, because it seems they are.
Jenrick influenced a planning decision which was hugely beneficial to Richard “Dirty
” Desmond in the latter’s efforts to generate More And Bigger Paycheques For Himself Personally Now as a result of redeveloping the Westferry Printworks site in London’s Docklands. Des stood to make well north of another £100 million as a result of Jenrick’s intervention. Sadly, the decision had to be reversed, so he isn’t.
Robert Jenrick - hasn't resigned yet
With the affair on the front page of today’s Daily Mail
, the last thing the Tories needed was the idea that what Jenrick did on Demond’s behalf was OK, routine even. So when Nadhim Zahawi, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry, appeared on the Radio 4 Today
Programme, he might have been expected to play a straight bat.
Nadhim Zahawi - won't face sanction
But, as Adam Bienkov of Business Insider noted, he did anything but. “Asked how ordinary members of the public can influence planning decisions in the same way Richard Desmond was able to, Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi says they should go to Conservative party fundraisers and talk to Tory MPs
”. Do go on.
“Zahawi: ‘If people go to a fundraiser in their local area, Doncaster, for the Conservative Party, they’ll be sitting next to MPs and other people in their local authority. People can interact with different parts of the authority.’
” Perhaps there will be an edition of Corruption For Dummies to go with the series. Zahawi also went out of his way to exonerate Jenrick.
As the Guardian has reported
, he also stressed “There is no smoking gun here. The intention was to get more housing built, quickly, for people who really need it
”. That the decision was later reversed, and that that decision had included reducing the amount of so-called “affordable
” housing in the development, was for some reason not considered.
But no-one should be surprised, neither at Jenrick’s apparent lack of ethics, nor at Zadawi’s suggestion of something apparently similar. After all, chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings has effectively given the green light to them both.
As was revealed this week
, “Dominic Cummings has pledged to ‘take an axe’ to the planning system. In a conference call with government advisers that has mysteriously found its way into the pages of The Times, the PM’s most senior adviser said that there would be no return to austerity and that the government would address ‘long-term problems’ such as the planning system
”. Rules and regulations? Pah!
So don’t expect so much as a Mea Culpa
from Nadhim Zahawi. And forget an immediate resignation from Robert Jenrick. This Government doesn’t do resignations. The Polecat has laid down the law - or, in this case, the total lack of it.
The Tories are now officially bent. But you probably knew that already
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I didn't listen to R4-Today but presumably who ever was questioning Zahawi never followed up with the question as to whether, after speaking to the Tory MP, one should donate to the Tory party upfront or after the planning permission has been approved....
I'd have been even more surprised to hear that the Tory Party consisted of good, upright, honest citizens instead of a corrupt bunch of inadequate spivs.
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