Viggers' duck house brings the curtain down on a distinguished career but raises the stakes in the body-strewn political battlefield

I suppose it was inevitable that one of the long-standing members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Insurance & Financial Services would be caught in the expenses scandal and it happened last night when the Daily Telegraph revealed that Sir Peter Viggers, Tory MP for Gosport, was being featured in this morning's edition for his excessive claims for garden expenses, including a floating duck house. In political terms, Sir Peter was summarily executed with David Cameron instantly telling him that he would not be standing at the next election after a 35 year career in Parliament. Whatever you think of the claims that is a huge personal blow to Sir Peter.
He is well known in the insurance industry having been a constructive critic of Lloyd's during its troubled period in the late 80s and early 90s, ending up as a member of the Lloyd's Council between 1992-95 when many of the reforms that have served the market well were put in place. He is still chairman of the Lloyd's pension fund.
The wider implications of his instant dismissal are significant. If this is where the Tories are going to set the benchmark for dismissal then we could see dozens more MPs effectively sacked over the next couple of weeks. It appears that David Cameron is now running the Conservative party more along lines the rest of us would recognise with instant dismissal for serious misconduct. In doing so, his is clawing his way up to the moral high ground (if there can be any in this ghastly mess) leaving Gordon Brown and the Labour trailing.
If the standards the Conservatives now appear to be setting are imposed on the Labour Party the Cabinet could be decimated, especially if the property deal swindles many of them have perpetrated are deemed to be beyond what is acceptable.
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