ICO probes Tory minister PI blagging allegations

I needed two things: a drink and a clue. I knew where to find the first...

The ICO is making enquiries into Tory justice minister Jonathan Djanogly's hiring a firm of private detectives to blag information from his own constituents.

Djanogly was exposed by the Telegraph last year for hiring the firm of private dicks. In a reversal of usual blagging exercises, they were instructed to pretend to be journalists in order to find out what constituency workers thought of the young politician.

Like most eavesdroppers, the ferret-faced MP for Huntingdon did not hear good things about himself. There was criticism of his expenses claims of £13,000 for a cleaner/au pair and a general belief that he was a poor politician.

The detectives' report quoted one constituency bigwig describing the MP as a disaster who needed to be deselected, he was also variously described as "lazy" and "dishonest".

Djanogly, who was a lawyer before entering Parliament, paid £5,000 to the firm.

A spokesman for the ICO told us: "We have received a letter from Mr Mann [Labour MP for Bassetlaw] which includes allegations against Mr Djanogly. The letter only arrived a few days ago and we are still looking at the claims. No inquiry has been launched yet."

Djanogly told the Telegraph the ICO had no role to play.

He said: "I would never have condoned anything unlawful and dishonest in the investigations, and the investigators have assured me that all of their inquiries were carried out in an entirely lawful manner." ®

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