Just as sure as the sun rises each morning, 2013 brings yet more hypocrisy from Simon Hughes. Even as the Lib Dems’ deputy leader attempts to defend himself from criticism that he voted for austerity while opposing the cuts that accompany it, he told Southwark News:
“It’s simplistic and wrong to say that more police equals less crime, it’s what you do with the police and how affective they are that matters.”
What kind of buffoon would promulgate such nonsense? Errr … step forward Mr Simon Hughes, who is pictured below calling for 10,000 more police:
Indeed, he has been campaigning on this basis for years. Launching his challenge for London mayor in 2004, Hughes promised to make the capital “safer” by giving every neighbourhood eight dedicated uniformed officers as part of a “minimum policing guarantee”.
In the wake of the London riots Hughes linked police numbers directly to criminality and said that he opposed cuts:
“I think what happened demonstrated the case against cuts … It seems the police could not cope until they had reinforcements”
But when the time came to vote on the 2011-12 police grant, which slashed the budget by 20%, Hughes made his opposition clear — by abstaining!
Regular readers will be more than familiar with his record of flagrant hypocrisy:
But Scrapbook’s absolute favourite has to be the time he pretended that certain parliamentary votes didn’t occur in order to preserve the fiction that he had done all within his power to defend his constituents in social housing from damaging changes to secure tenancies.
The man just can’t help himself.
The former mayor of Southwark has compared domestic violence with smacking — and refused to apologise after claiming that some see “benefits” in the crime.
Cllr Columba Blango, who is a colleague of Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes and represents the ward neighbouring his house, has shocked colleagues with his views on the subject:
“It’s like smacking. Some people see the benefits of smacking. Some don’t see it.”
In remarks recorded in official council minutes and later attributed to Blango, the councillor claimed “some perpetrators might not be able to prevent themselves” from slapping their partner in “the spur of the moment.”
When a female councillor suggested he should apologise for comments made in the meeting of Southwark Council’s Education, Children’s Services and Leisure Committee, he dismissed her as being “emotional”.
Fellow Southwark councillor and sometime occupant of the BBC Sunday Politics sofa Rowenna Davis – who was in the car-crash meeting — told Scrapbook that “there’s no room for ambiguity when it comes to domestic violence”:
“I have constituents who suffer from domestic violence. The vast majority of Lib Dems would be appalled by Cllr Blango’s comments. But what does Simon Hughes think of his colleague and a supposed community leader propagating this kind of attitude?”
Perhaps the Lib Dem top brass should “encourage” Columba to apologise.
Eagle-eyed Scrapbook readers spotted naughty Simon Hughes using his mobile phone while driving this weekend. While eight out of ten motorists admit to this breach of the law, the Deputy Lib Dem leader seems determined to make things easier for the authorities — by travelling round in a vanity day-glo taxi with his name emblazoned across its flanks.
Hughesy was clocked while he was stopped at a junction on Havil Street in Southwark at around 11:20 am on Saturday:
“He pulled up at the junction and was clearly checking his phone. I managed to grab a snap before he pulled off.”
Drivers caught using their phone at the wheel — even when stopped at traffic lights — face a £60 fine and 3 points on their licence.
A couple of months ago, Hughes’ bio-fuelled eco ego wagon was spotted on the back of a tow truck — presumably after breaking down, and not because of his appalling car-park etiquette, another taxi exclusive.
Simon Hughes declined to comment.
An email from Simon Hughes is hilarious in its blatant hypocrisy, with the London MP attempting to paint himself as principled opponent of aspects of the Health Bill – despite his steadfast support for it throughout its passage through parliament.
Challenged by the leader of Southwark Council to explain his position on Andrew Lansley’s reforms, Hughes took a month to respond, finally sending a confused reply six days after the legislation had received royal assent:
- HYPOCRISY 1: Hughes writes that “When introduced [the Bill] there was an unacceptable emphasis given to the role of the private sector” — so why did he vote for it at every stage?
- HYPOCRISY 2: In March, Hughes called for the Bill’s risk register to be published, saying that the Liberal Democrats’ reputation as supporters of freedom of information was at risk. But in the email seen by Scrapbook, he says “governments are entitled to resist requests for information provided they follow the law”.
- HYPOCRISY 3: Hughes writes: “It is the results that count, not the noise or visibility of the process by which you achieve the result.” This is coming from the man who said Lansley should resign just to deflect attention away from his own support for the Bill.
Hughes has a history of saying one thing and then voting very differently — he was even caught lying about abstaining on crucial housing votes.
And he has repeatedly tried to justify his support for the Bill by saying the NHS was a Liberal idea in the first place, writing that he is a “a political son of William Beveridge”.
Beveridge would be rolling in his grave if he knew Hughes was calling him Dad.
With this latest hypocrisy centering on the Welfare Reform Bill, Simon Hughes has yet again been caught out saying one thing, but doing another.
Hughes’ weekend assault on the media, in which he called for the abandonment of the government’s proposed benefit cap, led to the claim that the bill would be rejected in both the Commons and the Lords in its current format.
But, a quick glance over Commons voting records reveal that back in June 2011 the influential Lib Dem stood with the Tories wholeheartedly on the bill.
Far from Hughes’ first dalliance with duplicity (see here, here or here), the Liberal Democrat has clearly developed somewhat of a Jekyll and Hyde complex during the Lib Dems time in Coalition.
As we’ve asked before: Would the real Simon Hughes please stand up?!
It seems the Liberal Democrats can’t even park their cars without it going decidedly crooked.
A photo has emerged of deputy leader Simon Hughes’ ostentatious yellow taxi, parked at what can only be described as a jaunty angle.
Labour MP Barry Gardiner was decidedly unimpressed, tweeting “What is it about this guy that makes him think it’s OK to park like this?”
Hughes has become semi-famous for driving around in the canary coloured Hackney Carriage, which runs on biofuel and has his name emblazoned on the sides.
At least parking services will know where to send the ticket.
When it comes to transport, could there be an outbreak of one-upmanship amongst coalition MPs? While the conflicted Simon Hughes is escorted round Bermondsey in a bright yellow taxi bearing his name, Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker drives round with his own face emblazoned across his car.
The sporty Peuguot coupe, which Scrapbook understands to be a relatively new purchase, looks capable of making speedy progress up the M1 to West Yorkshire. With a political reputation at stake, however, personalised livery would provide any MP with a significant incentive to obey the laws of the road.
Perhaps Eastleigh Liberal Democrats should get one.
UPDATE: One commenter has pointed out that this should send Whittaker’s car insurance premium through the roof. Is this paint job not an invitation to vandals?
Coming to a statute book near you soon, LIB/DEM is a gripping psychodrama in which a confused middle-aged man leads a double life, telling the world he’ll do one thing but secretly doing another. Can our protagonist please his bosses or will he be exposed as a charlatan?
With mixed reviews, it remains uncertain whether Bermondsey and Old Southwark will commission a sequel.