Friday, May 15, 2009

Dewsbury Gate: What Are The Telegraph Really Saying?

The underlying allegation of The Telegraph that the broadcast media are tip-toeing round is not simply that Mr Malik is renting his Dewsbury home at an under-value. Paying some £400 per month. Instead of say £600 per month. This being paid out of his own pocket as this is clearly, he says, his main home under the Green book rules.

The landlord's explanation that the MP was to be his own neighbour and that he liked the cut of his jib as a professional man, none of your riff raff, could perhaps see that accusation off.

But the Telegraph appear to be suggesting, and not particularly subtly, that there is something more to the fact that Malik rents his parliamentary office from the same landlord.

In effect they are suggesting that the under-value on the one hand for Malik's private tenancy may be a consideration in the parliamentary office tenancy. Which will of course be paid for by the taxpayers.

Perhaps they are suggesting that the rent for that office may be high-sided? Or perhaps they think that even if both rents are in the proper market range the MP has acted unwisely to have a private and a parliamentary contract with the same landlord? Or that the arrangement should have been run by the Permanent Secretary to protect all concerned? And they do dis-credit the landlord to an extent.

Wherever the Telegraph's careful weasel words lead these are very serious allegations indeed.

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