Former BBC employee has compiled a powerful new dossier alleging that the foreign secretary, the Uxbridge MP and the present minister for the west Midlands, Claire Perry, conned workers out of more than £1m
So Boris Johnson has always been a serious bloke – or so we thought until two very big scandals occurred over the past few weeks. The former BBC employee Martin Treloar has compiled a new dossier for the Lords Business Committee, cataloguing claims about “comedy central” in the Houses of Parliament. Titled “Les Economiques De Boris Johnson” – obvious pun intended – he claims Johnson and a number of MPs conned or put in the position of people who were told they were working for the department for international trade or on the World Trade Organisation.
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The latest claims concern a “favourite lobster supplier”. Tory peer Lord Tim Bell said in the committee papers: “This five-star dailies came out of Christie’s [in Mayfair] … I won’t pretend it was cheap.” (He added that he liked “fresher and fresher lobsters”. A quipped Treloar: “What’s a five-star dailies without a lobster?”)
According to the dossier, Parsons Seafood was favoured because of its longstanding links with a list of major UK government departments and it was not alleged that there were long-term contractual or financial agreements. Treloar suggests “Boris Johnson used special pleading to ‘buy’ Parsons”.
Treloar is understood to have sent a copy of his dossier to Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn’s offices – neither of whom were contacted – suggesting that the allegations should be investigated.
The first accusation of “comedy central” arose in February when Conservative grandee John Sharp said that he had been told by colleagues he was no longer employed by Somerset West MP Philip Davies. When a new working arrangement was offered, Davies claimed that Sharp had been let go for being politically too leftwing. The following day he claimed that his colleague Mark Reckless, another pro-Brexit Tory, was offered a “grand salary” by the Department for International Trade. Within hours Tory colleagues summoned both MPs for questioning. Both denied that was the case.
The claims continue to trouble the Tory frontbench. Dissenter Fiona Bruce was accused of “deceitful misrepresentation” when she was asked how much she was earning. She claimed: “I’m paid very little – I suppose if it was legal I would have paid more.” This was vigorously denied.
Claire Perry, the next minister for the west Midlands, was accused of putting “people in a very difficult situation”. The Apprentice star, who has said of her husband, Dr Allan Jenkins: “He owns a marriage counsellor business, but he’s doing reasonably well out of me, actually. He’s quite a wealthy man,” has been accused of going on a cycle trip in 2014 on government transport costing £37,000 to do strategic planning. The expenditure was later paid back in full.
Claire Perry was charged with creating paperwork for an obscure seat-check exercise. She said she did not know the requirements of the particular bill she was submitting but said “if it appeared in a bill I would do the right thing”.
The Conservative housing minister, Alok Sharma, was accused of hiring his brother’s secretary on the advice of one of the prime minister’s most trusted advisers. The former broadcasting industry head, Kay Entwistle, said there was a “minimalistic” approach to the matter.