Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New Pressure on Conway as It Emerges Son's Close Friend Was Also on Commons Payroll; (1) Supportive: Henry Conway Sent an Email of Thanks to His Friends, Said to Include Prince William's Girlfriend Kate Middleton, Right, and Isabella Hervey, Left (2) Payments: Henry Conway, Right, and His Friend Michel Pratte

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New Pressure on Conway as It Emerges Son's Close Friend Was Also on Commons Payroll; (1) Supportive: Henry Conway Sent an Email of Thanks to His Friends, Said to Include Prince William's Girlfriend Kate Middleton, Right, and Isabella Hervey, Left (2) Payments: Henry Conway, Right, and His Friend Michel Pratte

Article excerpt

Byline: NICOLAS CECIL

SHAMED MP Derek Conway faced fresh pressure today after it emerged hehad employed a close friend of his son at taxpayers' expense.

The disclosure came as more embarrassing details poured out about the high-lifeof his flamboyant sons Henry and Freddie, who were paid tens of thousands ofpounds by their MP father from public funds.

Photographs of the party-loving pair posted on social networking websitesexposed their taste for nightclubbing with well-heeled university and schoolfriends.

Their father, the 54-year-old MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, was facing newquestions about his use of public funds to employ Michel Pratte, a Canadianfriend of Henry Conway, in his Commons office.

MPs were today voting to suspend Mr Conway from the Commons for breachingparliamentary rules by paying Freddie, 22, nearly [pounds sterling]12,000 a year as a researchassistant while he was studying geography at Newcastle University.

Questions were also being asked how Mr Conway could have paid for both his sonsto go to Harrow School, where fees are currently [pounds sterling]26,000 a year, as well assupport their expensive lifestyles at university, which would have been out ofthe reach of most students.

The Conservative Party refused to discuss the latest allegations about MrConway's use of public funds.

Washing his hands of the MP, a senior spokesman said: "He is no longer aConservative MP and we are not commenting on this." Mr Conway has announced hewill not seek to stand again at the next general election.

Mr Pratte, 23, was given a job as a research assistant last September in MrConway's office.

He was reportedly paid [pounds sterling]11,500 a year from public funds by the MP, whilestudying simultaneously for a postgraduate degree at the London School ofEconomics.

Documents obtained by the Daily Mail say he was employed to work 17 and a halfhours a week.

Mr Pratte, who graduated in Canada, has been pictured partying with Mr Conway'sflamboyant elder son Henry, 25, who received a reported [pounds sterling]32,000 in taxpayers'cash by being employed by his father as a research assistant. …

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