Thursday, 26 October 2017

Holes, digging and research into pro-EU studies

The Conservative party machine has come up with a benign explanation for a Tory MP's letter to universities over European studies. Chris Heaton-Harris, the MP for Daventry, was not after all launching a McCarthyite witch-hunt of academics who have a positive attitude to Europe. He was, in fact, researching a book, according to a Conservative Party whip.

Let us put aside the uncharitable thought that if this was his true intention he would have been open about it in the first paragraph of his letter. He was merely using his status as a parliamentarian to obtain information for private gain, par for the course in this post-Thatcher age. However, there are still awkward little restrictions on the use of House Of Commons stationery and postage. In particular, MPs "must not exploit the system for personal financial advantage". One trusts that Mr Heaton-Harris has made the appropriate payment to the House authorities.

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