A typical Tory Triangle

By Brad James

Andrew Turner: Sleaze 2.0?

The Conservatives often have a penchant for “Sleaze.” In fact, in the 90’s, it threatened to overthrow the name of the party, as it was all one could do not to open a paper and see it emblazoned across pages in reference to them. David Mellor, the Hamiltons, John Major and Edwina Currie shattered like a rotten egg when the news emerged and who could forget the scandal starting it all? The Profumo Affair? Indiscretions run amok through the party and one can probably list them until they are “blue” in the face. What with the recent revelations coming to light of the shadowy, vilely monstrous crimes of Tory MPs in Thatcher’s government abusing young boys in a Guest House in Barnes, it seems as if those who are purported to lead us, thus lead by example, are evolving into some of the most morally bankrupt in a nation that’s in debt up to the eyeballs.

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It seems when a reign is coming to an end that the elite’s hastily erected, respectable façade seems to come apart at the seams. We all remember Gordon Brown being caught out, slamming a member of the public as a “bigoted woman.” The Tory unravelling has begun south of the Solent, in the Isle of Wight, the place where Queen Victoria whiled away her grief, prompting the strongest republican movement since Cromwell. Andrew Turner may live nowhere near Osborne House, yet his taxpayer funded home seems to work to the tune of a government funded body. Since 2009, Mr. Turner has festered as a vigorous lesion on the taxpayer purse, designating his residence in the Isle of Wight as a second home, claiming £100,000 in expenses for it. Despite ardent insistence that his dipping was within the rules, it is clear he is a man splattered with a touch of mud already.

It is now 2015 and it is a time for every Tory to be on their best behaviour, yet drama seems to hound Andrew Turner as much as the current calls for him to resign following a scenario more suited to Jeremy Kyle than Westminster. His fiancée of 17 years, Natalie Dennett, by Mr. Turner’s side throughout his 13 year tenure as MP for the Isle of Wight, has now left Mr. Turner and is reported to have moved into their constituency ‘second’ home, with her new lover, who just so happens to be Mr. Turner’s Transport Advisor, Nicholas Finney. Betrayal moves in small circles, with fiancée/PA and Transport Advisor leaving Mr. Turner up shit creek! Having caused such a debacle, 13 years is an unlucky number, the same length Labour was in power before they were ousted in the last General Election.

Having moved out of the house, Mr. Turner’s fiancée, Ms. Dennett moved Mr. Finney in, only for Mr. Turner to move back in after Christmas and the illicit pair to move out – good to know the expenses are being wasted on the right person…

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The furore has been looked on unfavourably by the island’s Conservative Party Association, who have called a meeting at the end of the month, calling for the MP to stand down:
‘The recent revelations about your separation, and the fact that you, as the seeming “innocent” party, moved out of the house to let her and her new lover be there only serves to emphasise to outsiders that you are in thrall to Carole and are totally dominated by her.
‘We have noted that Mr Finney appears to have an on going role as your transport adviser and this gives rise to question about your judgement. It also causes ambiguity about the future role of these two individuals in your office. None of this gives either the party or the public the impression that you are genuinely in charge of your work.’
​A week earlier, Andrew Turner’s Election Agent also quit. Mike Rooke’s stepping down came a month after the departure of Mr. Turner’s Campaign Manager, Keith Hook, who left the position after less than a month. Despite Mr. Rooke’s insistence that his leaving was more concerning aiding his daughter in setting up a cycling business… it does reek of a rats deserting a sinking ship scenario. As Keith Hook says he was unable to work with certain members of Mr. Turner’s team.
This is a small scale continuation of the Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless incidents, we can all recall how the two Tory back benchers elbowed the party for UKIP. People are fickle, far more so when money and power are put on the table and used as bargaining chips. This is a story that is common when it looks like the tables are about to turn, choppy waters run shallow and what is more rapid than the corridors of power? Mr. Turner’s plight is a sour allegory of the Tory party’s wavering and floundering success, deceptively steady, yet swiftly crumbling away, much akin to the geological plight of the Isle of Wight itself. When Queen Victoria died, she had to be dragged all the way from Osborne House to Westminster Abbey on a single horse drawn hearse. These coming months for the ruling party, who gained office from a swift deal with the enemy, may exhibit more of an arduous slog than that.

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