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WALTHAMSTOW: Calls for probe into businessman's lunch with PM
THE chairman of the Conservative Party breached ministerial guidelines by allegedly paying for clients of a Walthamstow businessman to attend a lunch with the prime minister, it is claimed.
Baroness Warsi reportedly helped associates of Abid Hussain, of Melville Road, accompany him to the launch of the Conservative Friends of Pakistan group at the Savoy Hotel in the Strand last month.
Lady Warsi is currently being investigated over allegations she failed to declare her shared business interests with Mr Hussain, who is a second cousin of her husband.
The pair travelled to Pakistan on an official visit in 2010 at a time when Lady Warsi was a shareholder food company Rupert's Recipes, which Mr Hussain is a director of.
The Sunday Telegraph newspaper has since reported that Mr Hussain attended the lunch with friends last month and also went to Downing Street in November 2010 to meet with David Cameron.
The Conservative Party has dismissed suggestions that there was anything improper about the lunch but Labour MP Michael Dugher has written to the Mr Cameron's Independent Adviser on Ministers' Interests, Sir Alex Allan, to investigate.
He said: "The Sunday Telegraph reported that Baroness Warsi personally paid for potential business clients to attend a Conservative Party lunch last month with the Prime Minister.
"This revelation...appears to breach clause 1 of the Ministerial Code, which states that: 'Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or appears to arise, between their public duties and their private interests'.
"These allegations are very worrying".
Mr Hussain until recently was on an independent panel which deals with complaints about councillors in Waltham Forest, which could include allegations of failing to declare business interests.
Mr Hussain also has links with a number of Labour politicians, such as former Waltham Forest cabinet member Cllr Afzal Akram, who is also listed as a director of Rupert's Recipes.
In 2010 Cllr Akram and Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy were involved in a campaign co-organised by Mr Hussain which raised concerns about delays in releasing bodies for burial at Walthamstow's Coroner's Court.
A Conservative party spokesman said: "the Sunday Telegraph report relates to a party-political event for members of the British Pakistani community.
"To suggest that there was any impropriety in their being invited is simply mischief-making."