Shocking series of scandals surrounding the Groucho Club.
Two years ago, during the 2009-10 period, David Cameron took a keen interest in a Tory taskforce invited to produce a special report, UK Tourism in a Competitive World.
Part of his motivation for doing so was probably that the Conservative Leader always has a nose for big money. And John Henry James Lewis, Chairman of the infamous Groucho Club in London’s Dean Street, has for some years been the major bankroller of former Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP.
Mr Hunt is now the new Secretary of State for Health. He will be bringing a great deal of baggage with him for his stay in hospital.
Misleadingly, our Jeremy refers to Lewis in his interests submission as ‘Mr John Lewis of Dorset’. It is misleading both by geography and understatement: Lewis is a multimillionaire director of some 78 companies…he is based largely in London, has an an entry in Debretts, and is widely known in media circles. During 2009, Jeremy Hunt declared in his interests a meal at the Groucho Club….at which Mr Lewis coughed for the bill, a trifling £1430.
John Henry James Lewis has a variety of media interests. He is also the man who bankrolled Hunt’s ‘fact-finding’ visit to New York in 2009 as Shadow Culture Minister to the tune of £4,000. Hunt’s visit there lists four media companies he visited. Three of them are owned by Newscorp. There are over 45,000 media concerns listed in New York. When asked by Leveson if he had spoken to James Murdoch about the BSkyB takeover, Mr Hunt replied that he had not “to the best of my recollection”. Should a man whose memory span doesn’t stretch to three years on such a central topic be a legislator and Cabinet minister? Well, today Dodger Dave decided.
But the truth is that Cameron has dumped Hunt from Culture because he has more than enough toxic isotopes in that area as it is. And be in no doubt, JHJ Lewis’s potential for toxicity is outstanding.
During the last two years, a battery of allegations has been thrown at the Groucho Club in general and its management in particular. In trying to sue just one of the accusers, Mr Lewis lost a libel case against one brave litigant who sued the club under the data protection act. The Groucho was awarded an insulting £225 costs after shelling out a legal cost estimated to be in the region of £2.5m. The owners are now trying very hard to sell their tarnished asset. But the grubby tarnish goes well beyond just one case.
It involves secret surveillance of Groucho members. The use of the Groucho’s website by paedophiles. Consumption and supply of cocaine. Another massive Met Police cover-up followed by an IPCC whitewash. Gifts to Mr Hunt from other members of the Lewis family. And a network of wealthy liars scheming to ensure that their various plots would remain uncovered.
Having presented these events in more detail to a senior Conservative source yesterday, I was informed, “Jeremy has already been told unofficially that he isn’t keeping Culture. I think it is felt by some now that it’s a post too close to the PM. This sort of stuff is exactly what they mean.”
Jeremy Hunt, is being bankrolled by the very same JHJ Lewis who formulated Tory policy on British tourism. Hunt is the Minister who was centrally involved in the Olympics…and was photographed by ITN personally seeing Newscorp owner Rupert Murdoch off as he left the Olympic Park in his limo.
Rupert Murdoch had been the personal guest at the Games of the Conservative London Mayor, Boris Johnson. The man reputed to be next in line for Cameron’s job issued a public two-fingers to all those 6,000 British citizens known so far to have been phone-hacked illegally by the journalists Murdoch employs. He is the same man who said, at the first breaking of Hackgate, “This is all a load of leftwing poppycock invented by those who wish to destroy Mr Murdoch”. To this day he has never apologised to Murdoch’s innocent victims for this inaccurate, slanderous, idiotic and totally inaccurate slur against a free press, and those victimised by the hypocrite Murdoch who claims to be a defender of press freedom….a freedom he exemplifies by hiding the content of his newspapers from the internet.
You would have to be roughly at the IQ of a tin of whitewash not to see a clearly discernible pattern in all these connections in the upper echelons of the Conservative Party, the British media scene, and the culture it has produced.
Over the next few days, The Slog will be running a series of exposés to put more flesh on the bones of this enormous but hitherto silent skeleton in the Tory Party’s cupboard. You have to fight for room in the Tory skeleton-cupboard. The aim for the rest of this week is to try and make more room in there.
This is what I tweeted half an hour ago: ‘
#Reshuffle I wouldn’t put it past Cameron to give Hunt health. Newscorp Sky dish 4 every bed. Free hacked phone 4 every patient.’
The Slog beats the pack again. The rest of the week I shall mainly be beating the new Health Minister round the head.