Saturday, June 24, 2006

Burger-gate and the man that is Clive Betts MP

Picture courtesy of although no mention of the information below is to be found on the site's biog section or come to that elsewhere!

One of defenses Whitehead has deployed to the local press over accepting the free tickets to the world cup is that he personally didn't ask for them- so thats all right then!
In fact that particular honor, according to the Mail on Sunday, goes to Clive Betts, the MP for Sheffield Attercliffe, a very safe Labour seat (for more info on the constituency visit
Mr Betts is also Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Football Club and it is in this capacity that he obtained the tickets.
It is not the first time that Mr Betts has been involved in serious controversy- in July 2003 he was suspended from the House of Commons for his part in a bogus immigration application by a Brazililian male escort who happened to be, yes, you guessed it, his lover. Co-incidentally (or perhaps not...) this was the same male prostitute that he then went onto employ as his parliamentary assistant.
Outed by The Sun newspaper while holidaying in Venice, the paper revealed that he loaned the lad £4000 which Mr Betts explained were to 'help with his tuition fees' - history does not as yet record if that sum has been repaid. The Sun's main beef was that Mr Betts should not have applied for a security pass allowing his former escort to walk unescorted around the Palace of Westminster. By doing so the paper alledged that he was undermining Parliament and breaching the MPs' code of conduct.
The usually toothless Commons Standards and Privileges Committee agreed and found that the MP had acted 'extremely foolishly' in photocopying a forged document which his lover was using to extend his stay in the UK. They furthecriticizeded his role in trying to obtain the security pass.
In typical New Labour style, Clive noted that it was what he described with typical understatement as a little, "error of judgment" and he apologized to Parliament. He went on to claim that because he had admitted everything (after The Sun had threatened to expose him!) and that because he had asked the Complaints Committee to investigate, that the matter was effectively closed.

Many thanks to Chris Palmer for his information in the writing of this post.


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