Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Family Fortunes

Taxing times of late for Peter Kilfoyle, Labour MP for Walton. His attacks on the cronyism of New Labour & Cameron's Notting Hill set have been somewhat undermined by the revelation that a report he recently commissioned, calling for a "super mayor" for the entire region, was produced by his daughter's firm. Right-wing blogger Guido Fawkes made hay with the story & last week bumped into the MP. The Independent's Pandora column was happy to provide a ringside commentary on the encounter (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/pandora/pandora-fawkes-gets-explosive-commons-reception-1832229.html ):
"The Liverpool Walton MP took exception when he was informed that Paul Staines, the man behind the high-profile website, was in the Commons' Strangers Bar on Monday night. Staines, whose notable scalps have included John Prescott and Gordon Brown's ex-henchman, Damian 'Smeargate' McBride, was drinking with two of Kilfoyle's Labour colleagues when the furore erupted. 'I was with the MPs Tom Harris and Greg Pope and I was getting a round in,' Staines tells me. 'Suddenly he's ranting at the barmaid, "It's Guido Fawkes! Get him out!" I didn't want to embarrass the Labour MPs I was with, but I told him I was entitled to be there. It was all a bit childish.'
"Kilfoyle has come in for flack from Staines of late after the latter reported a survey commissioned by the politician was carried out by his daughter's firm. The MP has dismissed the criticism. He now says: 'If I'd had the energy I'd have chucked him out myself.
" 'I don't think people like him should come into this place, listening in on conversations and writing rubbish.' "
You'll notice that the Honourable Member for Walton sees no conflict of interest in having his daughter produce a commissioned report (i.e., paid for) & apparently makes no apology for enabling her to profit from one of his pet Parliamentary causes. Furthermore, his objection to Staines' presence had no validity; as for his gripe that Staines was only there to listen in on conversations & write rubbish, some might well point out that many a lobby hack does just that on a daily basis around Westminster's watering holes.
At the time of the report's publication the response was somewhat favourable from...guess who. Go on, you must know, it's obvious. Oh, alright then, I'll spell it out for you, the Daily Ghost (http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/views/liverpool-daily-post/2009/11/06/comment-peter-kilfoyle-s-super-mayor-plan-needs-serious-debate-92534-25103865/ ).
Penned by William Leece, the opinion piece warmed to Kilfoyle's call for a "super mayor" for the "city region", not just Liverpool & neighbouring areas, but also spanning Warrington & North Wales. Offering qualified approval for the proposal, Leece wrote that Kilfoyle's "opinions count. And when he backs the idea of an elected mayor....he should at least be listened to.
"It is certainly a far more interesting idea than that simply of a mayor from Liverpool alone. The report he has commissioned refers to the 'in-fighting, factionalism and allegations of unprofessionalism and mismanagement' that bedevil Liverpool City Council, and we would suggest that a directly-elected mayor would simply encounter more of the same."
Nontheless, the editorial concluded by saying that "Mr Kilfoyle has come up with radical proposals, and they deserve serious debate."
The merits of a "super mayor" notwithstanding (I regard it as a dead duck), what also deserves "serious debate" is Kilfoyle's family connection & how his constituents, for whom he was at pains to profess his steadfast support & representation in an Observer piece last month (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/nov/22/liverpool-deprivation-broken-britain ), will view matters.
Liverpool Confidential had already broached the subject before the Observer piece (http://www.liverpoolconfidential.com/index.asp?Sessionx=IpqiNwEjKHqjJlEpNwB6IaqiNwA&mpage=10 ).
[The Independent's Pandora colum also carried a snippet about the hopes of West Lancashire Labour MP Rosie Cooper for Ringo Starr to return to the city & pick up the Freedom of the City scroll he was nominated for back in the 80s. Cooper, Pandora noted, "was behind the idea" back then. Er, Rosie, that may not be such a popular move anymore.]

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