Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tories off their tits

According to the BBC website, Labour MP Martin Salter - quite a nice bloke as I remember him, and always good for a quote - has claimed that a Chinese heroin baron funded the Tories in 1994. Hey, what's the point in having parliamentary privilege if you don't use it, right?

The allegation seems to have eluded other media outlets. I can’t find it reported elsewhere, and the Hansard website search engine doesn’t return anything either.

Needless to say, I’m intrigued. But I just don’t have time to look into it this afternoon, as I have to be at Westminister to cover a select committee meeting. Anybody got any further info?

This little revelation comes the day after I am reliably informed - by a bloke in a pub whose GF works as an MP's researcher, so it must be true - that one leading Tory politician's acquaintance with Bolivia’s number two export commodity went well beyond a bit of run-of-the-mill student dabbling in drugs.

I wonder how all this is playing in the average suburban Conservative Association?

UPDATE: Thanks to SH in the comments box, who comes up with the following 1998 story from the Independent, co-written by the late Tony Bevins:

'The family of Ma Sik-chun, the heroin smuggler who gave £1m to the Tory Party, yesterday claimed that three senior Conservatives knew that the money was given in return for "certain commitments".

'In a letter to the party asking for the money back, Ma's son, Ma Ching-kwan, said former treasurers Lord Hambro and Lord Harris and the former Cabinet minister David Mellor were told the donation came with strings attached.'

Strikes me that if the allegations about the Top Tory can be substantiated - and apparently there are enough witnesses from the guy's university days, so maybe that's not such a big if - the combination could be a propaganda gift to New Labour.

While we're on the subject ... I'll never forget Phil Woolas - New Labour minister for something or other these days - being grilled on whether or not he'd ever smoked a joint while he was president of NUS. He replied that he'd never smoked so much as a cigarette in his life. Funny. He used to scrounge loads of fags off me in the eighties.

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