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Shadow Leader of the House Hilary Benn calls for re-run delay

Michael Crick | 17:44 UK time, Monday, 8 November 2010

In the Commons this afternoon, Hilary Benn, the Shadow Leader of the House, argued no re-run election should be held in Oldham East and Saddleworth until we know the outcome of Phil Woolas' appeal.

Otherwise there might be a danger, he said, of having two MPs for the one seat.

Mr Benn should know a thing or two about disqualified MPs and by-elections. In 1960 his father Tony Benn was famously disqualified as an MP when he inherited his father's peerage.

Tony Benn fought the subsequent by-election, was re-elected, but not allowed to take his seat, on the grounds he was a peer. The law was then changed to let him renounce his peerage, and Benn elected again at a second by-election.


  • Comment number 1.

    Mr Crick, I am looking forward to an update on the Watkins / McGladdery HMRC case that you helpfully covered just before the election.

    Two high court judges happily wrote off McGladdery as an unreliable witness and her dodgy diary is an out and out forgery.

    Why were you so taken in? Did this story break BBC news guidelines that you have to have two sources for a story unless the source is a longstanding one?

    Do you recognise that much of Woolas' criminal behaviour would not have happened if the Newsnight hadn't been happy to run that story?

    Have you apologised?

  • Comment number 2.

    Hmm. Editors don't seem to like my comment. I'll cut it down then:

    Mr Crick: Can we expect an update on the film you did about Ms McGladdery's allegations in Oldham?

  • Comment number 3.


    Let's keep the curroption-riddled General Election process in the news, until the more fundamental iniquities shake out. The general purpose POLITICAL LIE, like the Emperor's New Clothes, tends to go unnoticed, BUT IT IS A LIE, AND SHOULD BE ROOTED OUT OF DEMOCRACY.

    Michael - I am still pursuing the Conservative 'liar flyer'. Why would a snappy terrier ignore a juicy treat? Not frit surely?

  • Comment number 4.

    mmm, think we are being a bit previous with Woolass, let the appeal take place because if my memory serves me the Conservatives said some pretty uncharitable things about Labour and (when they a backbone) the LibDems, isn't that part of the cut and thrust of political debate, part of the hustings mayhem. How much money did the LibDem guy spend on that election? Why are we going down this court action road now? You couldn't get cash for questions into court no matter what, and what about the expenses debacle, some of those excesses should have reached the magistrates, not many did...just a thought...

  • Comment number 5.


    In six months of chasing down the Conservative 'liar flyer', I have been advised by officialdom (TWICE) that I have to go to the police. That is to shove ones broader case down a funnel, that ends (dies) with Keir Starmer. NOT THIS LITTLE BLACK DUCK!

    9/11 will not be resolved in law. Truth, more devastating than the original atrocity, will out. By the same token, in UK, courtesy of the Nick and Dave power grab, I have 4.5 years left to show they are all 'at it'. Here I go!


  • Comment number 6.

    Here's something off the BBC Home Page today this little part of the world would like to know a bit more about... - Deputy leader Harriet Harman faced a call to quit at a meeting of Labour MPs in mutinous mood over her disowning of Phil Woolas, the BBC learns.

    Leading to...

    Intrigued by this learning business. Maybe from the same un-named sources that so often grace these pages?

    This version of the story has been very prevalent across the BBC in complement. In fact the only person to be accorded vox-pop quote status during the radio news highlights:

    Labour MP Graham Stringer...

    While "not in a position" to pass judgement on Mr Woolas' conduct during the campaign - in which he was accused of stirring up racial tensions to win votes - Mr Stringer said election battles in marginal seats were not "Sunday-school outings".

    "If the courts get involved in elections when people go over the top on policy and sometimes tell lies then we are going to have a very strange electoral process in future," he said.

    So a Labour MP claims to the British Public that lying through your teeth and being caught red-handed is something the Great British electorate is pretty chilled about, so why the fuss and bother and unpleasantness for a drinking buddy?

    And the BBC throws itself behind this point of view over any other, with all their impartial heft?

    That is.. unique, to be sure.

  • Comment number 7.


    I have still found no one who can read this statement as true: "THE CONSERVATIVES MUST WIN HERE TO STOP ANOTHER 5 YEARS OF GORDON BROWN" but neither can I find anyone to take an interest in it as a possible lie. Yet is was penned by Con HQ and widely 'used on' Joe Public.

    Though Woolas is found to have lied in a personal way, surely the root misdemeanour is the lie? Yet it seems a possible lie, crafted to affect voting preference, though clearly outlawed by section 115 of the same act that trapped Woolas (106) IS OR NO INTEREST TO MAN, MP, nor MEDIA!

    What is going on?

    PS The Conservatives DID win 'here' but Brown did not get more than a few weeks. Perhaps the Cons can sue him for breach of something?

  • Comment number 8.

    I had to laugh at all the Labour MPs trying to rally round Woolas and raise money for an appeal.

    Have they READ his election newspaper? Or do they simply not care a jot for good electioneering?

    I read his election paperwork - it was horrendous, underhanded, as misleading as possible and, as the judge said, full of lies.

    All it shows is that Woolas is obviously a nasty piece of work, and to be honest, he does not deserve a second chance.

    This is like a re-run of the expenses scandal - once again MPs just fail to understand that the public is fed up of their malicious, nasty games in the pretence that it is good for the country.

    It isn't.

    Also, the judge has not changed the result of the election, just declared it unfair and it should be run again. If a judge, someone independent of the political process cannot declare an election unfair, then what hope to the rest of us have?

    Oh, yes, I forgot - MPs only want democracy on their terms - not on ours.

  • Comment number 9.

    '7. At 5:46pm on 09 Nov 2010, barriesingleton wrote:

    ... and media narrative enhancements in complement?

    I am merely intrigued by what gets talked about, in what terms, or not... and why.

    On the one hand, the audience is 'protected' by 'watertight oversight' on the claimed basis that things must not be reported until full facts are known. And certainly not if origins are illegal or of questionable substance. Or... anything goes if it looks 'juicy'.

    On another, when nothing much of heft is actually happening 'critics saying..' 'or calls for...' that seem mainly to be from less than disinterested sources are elevated to the mainstream, or not, depending on mysterious editorial whim.

    Recently senior level judgement was given a big outing based on police enquiries with no charges, yet so far I can't recall much, say, about Mr. Miliband's with Mr. Woolas until his hand rather forced.

    On just another day that 3 Labour MPs are trying to get out of jail free, the reporting in some quarters will be 'interesting'.


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