Saturday, 26 May 2012

This is what happens when you appoint someone just because she is a Muslim/Asian/woman, or, in this case, all three.


The Telegraph: David Cameron has suffered a fresh political blow as the Conservative Party chairman admits that she failed to declare thousands of pounds in rental income.

Baroness Warsi said she did not tell House of Lords authorities that she was receiving income from a London property she had bought and rented out.

She apologised last night for the breach of parliamentary guidelines, blaming “an oversight, for which I take full responsibility”. However, she claimed she had paid tax on the rent.

The admission by Baroness Warsi is a serious blow to the Conservative Party’s pledge to be transparent in its dealings, and will increase pressure on Mr Cameron to replace her in a reshuffle.

The failure to make a declaration means that the public was unaware that she had another source of income, over and above her salary, which is paid by the Conservative Party, and the £300 a day allowance which she is eligible to claim when she attends the Lords.

The baroness updated the register of interests for members of the House of Lords last Monday. It now states under “land and property”: “Flat in London NW from which rental income is received.”

The Prime Minister and Baroness Warsi have spoken of the commitment to transparency by the Conservatives and the Coalition.

In November 2010 Mr Cameron said “it is our ambition to be one of the most transparent governments in the world”.

In July last year the peer said: “This Government is delivering unprecedented transparency.” The total amount that she failed to declare is not known because Baroness Warsi did not disclose it last night.

Peers are required to register any rental income worth more than £5,000 in a calendar year but do not have to say how much.

However, the amount is likely to run into five figures because it involves rental income from a home in London for at least 12 months.

As well as raising questions over her own financial affairs, it will further strain relations with grassroots members, among whom the 41-year-old baroness is not believed to enjoy widespread popularity. (Does anyone like her? Even Muslims won’t elect her.)

The political career of her special adviser was also in question last night.

The failure to make a declaration emerged from a dispute between Baroness Warsi and a Conservative donor and fund-raiser, Dr Wafik Moustafa.

He was upset when the Conservative Arab Network, which he founded, was told earlier this year to sever its links with the party and was subsequently threatened with legal action by Baroness Warsi.

That prompted him to disclose that he had given her and her special adviser, Naweed Khan, accommodation in London.

Baroness Warsi has been criticised over her performance as Tory party chairman.

Some Conservative MPs want Mr Cameron to replace her with Grant Shapps, the housing minister. (No chance, he’s white.) Earlier this month the Conservatives performed poorly in local elections, losing more than 400 council seats.

Baroness Warsi became the first Muslim woman to be selected as a parliamentary candidate by the Tories, contesting the Dewsbury seat in 2005, but failed to win.

She went on to be a special adviser to Lord Howard, the former Conservative leader, but saw her career take off under Mr Cameron, who made a special effort to promote ethnic minority candidates and party officials as part of his drive to modernise the Tories. (‘Modernise’ meaning to get rid of white people, specifically white males.)


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