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Mr. Gunnell: Perhaps the hon. Gentleman can explain why it is in order for him to use his privileged position in the House to attack the objectors personally, when it seems that it is not possible at this stage to comment on those who--in my view--have been found guilty by the district auditor.

Mr. Shaw: That shows that the hon. Gentleman is approaching the matter on a political basis. The motion tabled by his party refers to wrongdoing on Westminster council; what the hon. Gentleman does not like is the fact that I am about to expose wrongdoing on the part of Labour members of that council.

The three objectors to whom I have referred--former Westminster councillor Mr. Neale Coleman, Mr. Stephen Hilditch, and Councillor Peter Bradley--own companies which, in the past few years, have earned £1 million in fees from planning consultancy political work obtained through their membership of the Labour party.

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Ms Armstrong: So what?

Mr. Shaw: The hon. Lady clearly could not care less about Labour corruption.

Ms Armstrong: What is corrupt about a company that is legally registered, does work and is paid for that work, given that all that is declared, open and above board?

Mr. Shaw: Perhaps the hon. Lady would like to intervene again. Would she like to tell us that none of those companies, and none of the individuals involved, has ever earned those fees from Labour councils as a result of Labour decisions made in those councils?

Ms Armstrong: Is the hon. Gentleman saying that any company that earns money from a political party, or from a council run by a particular political party, is, by virtue of obtaining the contract involved, corrupt? That is what he seems to be alleging.

Mr. Shaw: The hon. Lady is missing the point. The point is the word "favours", as I shall explain.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: If the hon. Gentleman suspects wrongdoing and corruption, what steps has he taken to refer the matter to the auditor? If he suspects criminal behaviour, what steps has he taken to refer it to the police?

Mr. Shaw: If he is patient, the hon. Gentleman will hear more. Indeed, he will hear something of great interest to him about the people who booted him out of the leadership of the council with which he was involved.

The hon. Gentleman should recognise that £1 million in fees from lobbying and political consultancy work is more than any Conservative Member has earned recently. We have been criticised by the Opposition: we have had to take some stick from them. But, when £1 million in fees for consultancies--political quid pro quos and backhanders--is floating around the Labour party, Opposition Members suddenly say that that cannot possibly be wrong if Labour is involved.

Mr. Prentice: Get in touch with the police.

Mr. Shaw: The hon. Gentleman may want to do that when I have finished my speech, but perhaps he will stop interrupting. He is clearly very worried when anyone raises any concerns about the Labour party. Earlier today, we heard from Labour how perfect it is on this issue--how perfect it is when it wants to criticise people if there is any wrongdoing. The hon. Member for Pendle (Mr. Prentice) should wait and see; he can decide whether he wants to criticise people when I have finished my speech.

The objections to the accounts of Westminster council are not due to any concern for the residents of Westminster. Those people are using Westminster in order to operate within the Labour party in furtherance of their own financial interests. Let me start with Mr. Neale Coleman. He was born Dennis, but I understand that--much to the upset of the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner)--"Dennis" is no longer fashionable, and Neale prefers to be known as "Neale". He was the original objector to the

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accounts of Westminster council, but, strange as it may seem, the district auditor refused to call him as a witness at the recent hearing.

Mr. Coleman was offered as a witness by the QC, Andrew Arden, acting for the objectors trust, but when it became apparent what questions he would be asked, Mr. Arden suddenly withdrew him.

Mr. Betts: That is irrelevant.

Mr. Shaw: It is very relevant to what was said earlier. Earlier, Opposition Members said that there should be full disclosure--that everyone should volunteer information and appear as a witness--but the Labour party did not allow its own member to be called as a witness. Labour and the district auditor did not want him to appear, and he did not appear in that last hearing that led to the district auditor's final report.

Mr. Neale Coleman has a business that declares in its report and accounts that it is involved in council and voluntary organisation consultancies. He comes from a political family, closely connected with the Labour party. For example, his father ran the Ann Summers chain of sex shops, his mother is currently Labour mayor of Barnet and his brother Iain is currently a Labour political adviser on Islington council and leader of Labour-controlled Hammersmith and Fulham council, which I understand booted out the hon. Member for Pendle. Apparently, this political adviser on Islington council intends to become the non-political mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham council, on £12,000 a year.

Interestingly, Mr. Coleman might be stopped by the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, which states that political advisers on one council should not be councillors on another. That, however, is the way in which the Labour party keeps tabs on what is going on.

We should perhaps admire Neale Coleman in some respects. He is running a successful company: over the past two years, it achieved £400,000 in turnover from council and voluntary organisation consultancies. He uses Stoy Hayward as his auditor, and seems happy with it; but, funnily enough, Stoy Hayward is one of the auditors that Dame Shirley employed to disagree with the district auditor's assessment. It is strange that Mr. Coleman seems both happy and unhappy with Stoy Hayward.

The House might also like to know that, when PC Blakelock was murdered at Broadwater Farm estate, Neale Coleman was there as a political activist. When Dr. Michael Dutt, a councillor at Westminster, took his own life, Neale Coleman was there, also as a political activist. That is the man who is the principal objector to the accounts of Westminster council, a man who is present when people lose their lives in unhappy circumstances.

Ms Glenda Jackson: On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. If I understand the hon. Gentleman correctly, he alleges that, at the scene of what the police discovered to be a suicide, another person was present. Surely that could not possibly be the case. To place such a slur on an individual with absolutely no evidence is surely not in accordance with the history of how the House exercises its undoubted privilege.

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Madam Deputy Speaker: It cannot be a point of order for the Chair, but perhaps it is an issue on which the hon. Lady would wish to intervene.

Mr. Shaw: The hon. Lady is deliberately trying to obfuscate what I am saying, and is so concerned that it might hit home that she is constantly trying to intervene. I made it clear that Dr. Michael Dutt--[Interruption.] Will you listen for a change instead of rabbiting on like a stupid woman?

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman must remember that he is addressing me and that he cannot address me in that fashion and get away with it.

Mr. Shaw: I would never accuse you, Madam Deputy Speaker, of doing what I have just accused the hon. Member for Hampstead and Highgate (Ms Jackson) of doing. I made it clear that Dr. Michael Dutt took his own life in tragic circumstances. I also make it clear that Dr. Dutt took his life because Neale Coleman started the ball rolling when he made the complaint to the district auditor. I shall give further information on his business details in due course.

In 1989, Neale Coleman's partner, Mr. Stephen Hilditch, worked for Labour-controlled Hammersmith council on a restructuring study. Iain Coleman, the brother of Neale Coleman, is a councillor on Hammersmith council and held that position at the time the contract was awarded to Stephen Hilditch. In a letter to The Guardian, Stephen Hilditch complained about the difficulties of finance for the Westminster Objectors Trust. He is a director of a company that is pulling in £200,000 a year from local government consultancies. I shall shortly give more information about how those consultancies are obtained.

Neither Neale Coleman nor Stephen Hilditch believes in paying tax on that money. Like some Labour people I have come across, they avoid tax; their accounts show that hardly any money has ended up with the tax man. That is the character of the people who are making accusations about Westminster council. However, they find money to pay sub-contractors' fees.

I do not know whether hon. Members have ever contemplated what happens when political consultancies pay sub-contractors' fees and do not disclose to whom they are paid. Stephen Hilditch and Neale Coleman paid £75,000 in such fees in each of the past two years and donated £2,000, and they have not disclosed in their accounts to whom or what that donation was made.

Councillor Peter Bradley is Labour's parliamentary candidate for The Wrekin and a Westminster councillor, but he does not disclose in the council's register of interests the names of his clients and their interests in the Westminster area. Here is new Labour, with no disclosure at all of councillors' financial interests in a council's register of interests. New Labour means no disclosure. But Mr. Bradley is well known to the fraud squad, which has recently been feeling his collar because he was interviewed as a result of his non-disclosure.

On Westminster's planning committee, Councillor Peter Bradley tried to stop a proposed Waitrose shopping development that would have been near the store of his client, Safeway. He did not declare the interest that he is retained by Safeway: he decided that people should not

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know about that if it could be avoided. If it had not been for one or two people who did a little investigative work, no one would have known that he was retained by Safeway.

We may wonder why Safeway thinks that Councillor Peter Bradley, a man with no professional qualification whatever, should be so valuable that it pays him tens of thousands of pounds. Can it be because he is the deputy leader of the Labour group on Westminster council, a Labour activist and a Labour prospective parliamentary candidate, or is it because, as exposed by Andrew Pierce in The Times in January 1995, Councillor Bradley has been involved in gerrymandering in Camden's Chalk Farm ward?

Camden has 15,000 unemployed and it needs jobs, but what did Councillor Peter Bradley gerrymander? He produced social housing. He helped Safeway develop social housing and a Safeway store. Hon. Members may wonder why two other proposals, one for the creation of 500 jobs and the other for 700 jobs, were defeated. Councillor Bradley engaged in a fiddle for Safeway in Camden--a gerrymander that the Opposition plainly do not like, because they have been rabbiting on throughout my speech. They are clearly sensitive on this issue, and must feel that there are possibilities for corruption.

Single-handedly, Councillor Peter Bradley obtained planning permission for Safeway, and provided only 200 jobs, although there were alternative schemes for 500 or 700. Some 500 people will live in 202 social housing units. They will be unemployed because no jobs will be created, and they will live near the noise and vibration of a railway line.

Who would propose to build social housing in an area that is scheduled for industrial use unless he intended to gerrymander? Obviously, the railway line will interrupt the peaceful nights of people living there. They will have to put up with noise and vibration, and, because of that and the inconvenience of an industrial area, their children will not be able to play outside.


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