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Hidden camera: Sir John Butterfill was secretly filmed apparently offering his services to a journalist posing as an executive

Cameron dashes Tory Butterfill’s peerage hopes after ‘lobby firm boasts’

Nicholas Cecil, Chief Political Correspondent
23.03.10

David Cameron today ruled out a peerage for Tory grandee Sir John Butterfill who is engulfed in the lobbygate storm.

The Tory leader crushed the veteran MP's hopes of being elevated to the Upper Chamber after he was secretly filmed apparently boasting how as a peer he could help a US lobbying firm.

Sir John told an undercover reporter posing as an executive “in confidence” that it was “quite likely” that he would go to the Lords.

“It gives me another string to my bow as far as you are concerned,” he was filmed saying by Channel 4's Dispatches.

“It's quite often the right mover and shaker happens to be in the Lords.”

Mr Cameron acted swiftly as the spotlight threatened to swing from Labour on to the Tories.

Stressing that people would be “frankly disgusted” by the Dispatches revelations, he said: “It sickens me to see it [Parliament] dragged into the mud and everybody thinking politicians are just sleazy pigs in it for their own gain. We are not actually.”

Earlier, he highlighted comments by ex-ministers Stephen Byers and Geoff Hoon before mentioning Sir John.

“Yes, a Conservative backbencher who attempted to up his value by suggesting he would get a peerage,” he said. “I can tell you that is not going to happen.”

Sir John, MP for Bournemouth West, had already faced criticism for claiming thousands of pounds of taxpayer's money for the “servants quarters”.

Mr Cameron, though, stopped short of expelling him from the Tory parliamentary party, saying this would be little more than a gesture as Sir John, 69, is standing down at the election.

He is already said to have referred himself to the parliamentary commissioner for standards and denies knowingly breaching any Commons rules.

The Tory leader sought to pile more pressure on Gordon Brown to order an inquiry into the latest controversy by stressing if he wins power he would demand such an investigation.

Reader views (3)

 Add your view

When due to boundary changes I met Butterfill I complained about unemployment benefit under the Tories being income tax payable. He did not bat an eyelid about it. It would not have occured to him how much income tax paid by the unemployed had 'contibuted'to his greed about his 'expenses'

- Old Contemptible, Poole, England

The House of Lords has lost all integrity and any lustre it may have had in the nation's, and in the eyes of the world.

I saw this man on television last night. An odious performance. If that is indicative of the deplorable character, devoid of standards, that occupies and is entering that Chamber today, we really have sunk very low indeed.

It would, reluctantly, be far better to abolish it, than let any more snouts in the trough types bring it into further and further disrepute.

- Geoffrey, London

It is music to my ears to hear that this odious creep has been "brought down a peg or two". The house of lords is already overrun with vermin in ermine, shoe horned in by Blair and Brown. There isn't room on the green benches for any more failed/disgraced politicians wishing to engage in political prostitution.

- .R.F.York, Yorks, UK


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