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List of sleaze at the heart of Tory party keeps growing   

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Troublemaker looks at the week's news including sleaze in the Tory party and murky events in Ukraine
Issue 2826
Churchill Room, House of Commons, The Palace of Westminster, Westminster, London Conor Burns, Member of Parliament for Bournemouth West, gave the very entertaining keynote speech.

Conor Burns MP (Picture: Alwyn Ladell/Flickr)

Remember that 2017 list compiled by Conservative Party secretaries, researchers and aides of 36 Tory MPs’ inappropriate sexual behaviour and unwanted advances? It has proved very accurate since, with, for example, the claim that Matt Hancock was involved in “sexual relations with member of his private office.” Several others mentioned have been unmasked since. Now trade minister Conor Burns, another of those on the list, has been sacked from the government after a complaint of serious misconduct. Burns who was a close friend of Margaret Thatcher  has also had the Tory whip removed while allegations of inappropriate behaviour are investigated.

The BBC understands the claims refer to an incident at the Conservative Party ­conference in Birmingham. Burn previously resigned as a minister after an investigation said he used parliamentary privilege for “family gain”. Happily for Burns though it appears he is still on track to be offered a knighthood for services rendered to Boris Johnson. Notably saying Johnson was “ambushed with a cake” to explain the Partygate scandal. The old list includes a number of current cabinet ministers. So there may be more sleaze yet to emerge.

 A party “celebrating LGBT diversity” at Conservative conference led to several allegations of homophobic behaviour. Attendees accused several participants of using abusive language. The event at Reflex nightclub was organised by LGBT Conservatives on the final night of the conference and was open to anyone with a security pass, including party members, lobbyists and others. Two sources described to ITV News how one attendee had to be escorted from the venue for calling a gay man a “faggot”

Another man was thrown out for calling two women “dirty lesbos”. One of those abused said, “I don’t feel like I morally fit in anymore.” ITV News has been informed that the individuals using the offensive language were both Conservative party members. For the past two years the party has given a stand in the conference hall to the LGB Alliance—a campaign group opposing transgender rights.

US war role in Ukraine emerges 

The New York Times newspaper said last week that the Ukrainian government was responsible for the murder of Daria Dugina in a car bomb two months ago—and the US knows it. Its article was headlined, “US believes Ukrainians were behind an assassination in Russia.” It went on “United States intelligence agencies believe parts of the Ukrainian government authorised the car bomb attack near Moscow in August that killed Daria Dugina, the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist, an element of a covert campaign that US officials fear could widen the conflict.”

It’s quite a turn-around. In its original report on the assassination, the New York Times stated that there “was no evidence that the attack was connected to the war in Ukraine”. And it quoted Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, who said, “Ukraine certainly had nothing to do with yesterday’s explosion. We are not a criminal state like the Russian Federation.”

The Times insists, “The United States took no part in the attack, and would have opposed the killing had they been consulted.” It might be useful to the US at some point to claim the Ukrainian authorities and sections of the military do things that the Joe Biden administration is not aware of. That might include firing weaponry into parts of Russia, killing Russian high-ups—or blowing up pipelines, such as the Nord Stream.

Truss backers cash in

Liz Truss was given more than £500,000 for her leadership campaign, with about half of it coming from donors linked to hedge fund bosses, venture capitalists and other City financiers.  Another round of donations was declared on the register of MPs’ interests last week. More than £230,000 of her funding has come from people linked to the world of finance, while £200,000 came from those linked to the property and construction sectors. The second tranche of donations takes the amount she has received to more than £500,000—way above the campaign spending limit of £300,000.

Supermarkets have grabbed 10p  litre extra profit on fuel. Petrol and diesel prices reached record highs earlier this year but they have fallen recently as the global crude oil price has come down. The RAC motoring organisation said the average price of petrol fell by nearly 7p a litre in September.  But if they had been in line with the crude price reduction that would have been 17p a litre.

Two more trade union leaders are to make the well-trodden ermine-clad path to the House of Lords According to the Telegraph newspaper,  Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, and Dave Prentis, former general secretary of Unison, will get peerages. They will be joined by Tom Watson, former Labour deputy leader, who spent much of his time undermining Jeremy Corbyn.

Killer cough syrup dumped on Gambia 

A Indian drugs company has acted in the worst tradition of Western big pharma towards Africans, with appalling results. A cough syrup made by New Delhi-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals has been linked to the deaths of dozens of children in Gambia.

World Health Organisation director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week that it was investigating the deaths of 66 children from acute kidney injuries. The WHO said laboratory analysis of Maiden cough syrup had confirmed “unacceptable” amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol which can lead to acute kidney injury. It added, “Toxic effects can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state and acute kidney injury which may lead to death.” Maiden exported the syrup only to Gambia in west Africa—one of the poorest countries in the world.

RMT accuses scabs of endangering people

The RMT union has accused train companies of endangering people by the use of stand-in scab staff during strikes. It tweeted last week that it “has received numerous reports of trains being sent the wrong way by contingency staff.

Socialist Worker highlighted this issue in June. The RMT added that “after strikes in June the safety regulator sent inspectors to Three Bridges signalling centre–one of the busiest manual signal boxes—to investigate why numerous trains had been sent the wrong way by contingency signallers. Network Rail admitted there were problems, writing of a ‘spike in events’ and that ‘there had been room for improvement’ as contingency signallers were not familiar with the signalling arrangements at Three Bridges.

“If these staff weren’t familiar with the panel, why were they allowed to work at this signal box potentially putting other rail staff and passengers at risk?” asked a rail striker.

The Socialist Worker article is at here

Things they say

‘There were various tiers of which the two top were linked to the amount you gave a year and the second tier got you cabinet ministers coming to have lunch’

Boss Gareth Quarry Morgan talks about his paid-for dinners with Tories to get access to ministers. He has now moved to donate to the Labour Party

‘There is something deeply troubling about the darkness inside him’

A fellow Tory on MP Michael Gove

‘Johnson thinks it is too soon to return and he needs to make more money before another tilt at the top’

The Times newspaper on why Boris Johnson won’t by prime minister again soon

‘The options are death if we stick with Liz or ridicule if we get someone else and right now ridicule seems preferable’

Another Tory MP on the unity at the top

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