With several MP pals of coup plotter Lord Oakeshott — including Vince Cable — the beneficiaries of expensive private polling conducted in their constituencies, the next edition of the Register of Members’ Interests will be of interest when it drops on Thursday.
With such research from ICM coming in at no less than £4,000 a pop, the donations-in-kind should not only have been declared (FULL REPORT) but threatens to make life uncomfortable for the various MPs concerned — given polling by the former Lib Dem peer was the cornerstone of his botched attempt to dislodge Nick Clegg.
Cable’s PPS Tessa Munt was among the MPs called by Scrapbook this morning to ask whether she had declared a 500-person survey of her Somerset constituency. With the self-styled “switchboard” of her tiny Wells office referring us to a number in Liberal Democrat HQ, Scrapbook tested whether Munt and her office could keep their story straight:
Scrapbook: “Was Tessa Munt on holiday last week?”
Tessa Munt’s office: “No. [pause] Errrrr … she might have been.”
When called by Guardian hack Rowena Mason last Thursday, Munt claimed she was on holiday and “didn’t know what’s going on” vis-a-vis the polling:
Which was strange, because she had attended a business networking breakfast in her constituency that morning, before apparently departing for Westminster:
Working during her holiday. How selfless(!)
UPDATE: A reader in the comments tells us that Munt was in a local pub for an advice surgery one day before the ‘holiday’ claim. It turns out the calendar on her website has her attending no less than SIX advice surgeries that week!