Anorak News | A Woman Of Integrity

A Woman Of Integrity

by | 2nd, April 2004

‘LIKE Caesar’s wife, immigration minister Beverley Hughes was still proclaiming her integrity yesterday as she was forced to depart from her post.

‘Neither dishonest nor incompetent’

‘I’ve always said,’ she said in her resignation letter, ‘that in my political and my personal life nothing is more important than my integrity.’

Her boss, Home Secretary David Blunkett, was also busy yesterday praising her ‘integrity’ in stepping down in what he described as the worst day of his political life.

In fact, such is Ms Hughes’ much vaunted integrity that we are moved to ask why she felt the need to resign in the first place.

The Telegraph is happy to supply the answer – it was because she had said she knew nothing about concerns expressed by British diplomats about forged and bogus visa applications from Romania and Bulgaria when it turned out she did.

In the old days, that used to be known, in unparliamentary language, as lying. These days, it is known as unwittingly misleading the audience.

But Ms Hughes, as we know, is a woman of integrity. She is not, by her own judgement – and who better to judge than a woman of such integrity? – ‘incompetent nor dishonest’.

The whole sorry affair was, as the Independent’s sketch writer quickly appreciates, not her fault, but the result of ‘sustained criticism in Parliament and the media’.

Like Manuel in Fawlty Towers, she wailed ‘I know nothing’ as, in the Indy’s words, fraud was condoned, comically inadequate applications were waved through, officials wrote to her office about the scams, and a close colleague told her personally what was going on.

It was, in the diarist’s view, ‘the single most nauseating display of the century’ – and this from a man who has seen Vanessa Feltz do yoga naked.

But there is no cloud without some kind of silver lining, and the Times happily informs us that Tony Blair is to take personal charge of the whole application system.

Oh, for a dozen more of his stature…and integrity!’

Posted: 2nd, April 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink