David Cameron has made the bizarre claim his vanity photographer will actually save the taxpayer lots of money. Former Tory party staffer Andrew Parsons and WebCameron filmmaker Nicky Woodhouse are being paid £35,000 each by the Cabinet Office, for jobs that were not advertised and didn't exist under the Labour government.
David Cameron has made the bizarre claim his vanity photographer will actually save the taxpayer lots of money. Former Tory party staffer Andrew Parsons and WebCameron filmmaker Nicky Woodhouse are being paid £35,000 each by the Cabinet Office, for jobs that were not advertised and didn’t exist under the Labour government.
However, speaking in South Korea (and with a straight face), the prime minister said he had no regrets about Parsons, insisting:
“This is someone working for the Government and this is someone who is going to save the Government and the taxpayer a lot of money.”
Earlier this week, it was revealed more than 80 former Tory and Liberal Democrat staffers are now on the civil service payroll – not all of them special advisers, who are allowed to be partial. The revelations come in the same week as the biggest demonstration against the government’s cuts, which spilled over into rioting and violence.
Last week, Labour leader Ed Miliband mocked the prime minister for the vanity appointments, questioning why it was OK for him:
“… when he is telling everybody to tighten their belts, to put his own personal photographer on the civil service payroll?”
Backbencher Kevin Brennan, meanwhile, described it as “immoral” at a time of thousands of public sector redundancies, with shadow defence minister Michael Dugher writing to the Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell to ask:
“How do these appointments fit in to the Government’s recruitment freeze?”
The prime minister’s vulgarity in making these appointments, which fly in the face of the government’s austerity message, is perhaps best summed up by the late Michael Foot, who in his first Commons speech as a minister, observed that:
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“Nothing can be more absurd than the spectacle of a few fat men exhorting all the thin ones to tighten their belts.”
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