Darling and Beckett’s expenses scams just add to the long sorry tale of New Labour sleaze.
These people are moral and political pygmies.
I try from day to day not to dwell upon the way they ended my career as Ambassador and subjected me to an onslaught of slur and smear in what one senior Foreign Office source told the Guardian was “A campaign of systematic undermining.”
They did this to me because I queried internally their support for a vicious dictatorship in the “War on Terror” and because I was arguing in internal secret correspondence that it was illegal to obtain intelligence from torture.
They brought eighteen allegations of gross misconduct against me, and I was cleared of all charges after an internal invesitgation in which they loaded everything against me. Now you could make one or two charges of gross misconduct against someone, which turned out to be untrue, as part of a genuine process. But eighteen? All unfounded? It was a political stitch-up, overseen by Jack Straw.
They hastily added at the end of the process a nineteenth charge of disobeying an instruction to keep the false charges secret, and that was the only one I was found guilty of.
Of course, if I had not made it public, I would have been quietly stitched up on all charges.
But there was a sequel. After I was cleared and they were forced to let me return to Tashkent, they subjected the Embassy to an unscheduled “Surprise audit”. A team of three accountants was flown to Tashkent to go through every single transaction in the Embassy accounts since I arrived there, looking at every voucher.
This cost the taxpayer over £100,000.
The FCO had figured that if you went through anybody’s accounts with that fine a toothcomb, you would be bound to get them on something. But as it happens, I am pathologically honest about money. At the end of this vast exercise, it was found I owed the FCO just over 26 US dollars for a claim for which I had lost the receipt.
I paid them back.
And this was initiated by the unspeakable people who at the same time were themselves raking in to their personal accounts hundreds of thousands of pounds from the taxpayer!
New Labour are scum.