You know, I never knew Jeffrey Donaldson was a film buff. I always thought that it was Sir Gerald Kaufman who was the Commons’ answer to Barry Norman.
However, as revealed by the Daily Telegraph, Jeffrey Boy simply can’t get to sleep at night without a good movie:
Mr Donaldson, 46, a married father of two, used his Commons second home allowances to pay for films in his hotel room nearly every time he travelled from Northern Ireland to the capital on parliamentary business.
I like the way they slip in Jeffrey’s marital status. This is what is known in the journalistic trade as innuendo. Now pay attention, because there’ll be more.
In total, Mr Donaldson submitted second home claim forms, including receipts, relating to 68 pay-to-view movies.
Hotel sources confirmed that films he put on his expenses during 2004 and 2005 were in the highest price category offered to guests, covering the latest blockbusters and adult movies.
Note that it’s the category that’s being discussed here. In contradistinction to Jacqui Smith’s other half, there is no evidence to say exactly what films Jeffrey was watching in his hotel room. The Telegraph can only note that they were in the high-priced bracket, and speculate as to what that might cover:
At present, the films on offer which would fall into the highest price category at the Marriott are Sexy Scenes 2009, series 2, series 5 and series 7, Hotel For Dogs, Friday the 13th, Role Models and Death Race.
There are some titles there that aren’t familiar to me, but then I’m not as avid a moviegoer as Jeffrey. What’s important is that Jeffrey is insistent that he wasn’t watching any porn. I certainly don’t have any evidence that Jeffrey was watching Knockin’ Nurses 4, so I’m perfectly prepared to take Jeffrey’s word for it.
Mind you, even Hollywood blockbusters can be a tricky proposition in the Calvinist moral world of the DUP. These are the guys who like nothing better than to lead demonstrations against productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, so, all things considered, one hopes Jeffrey was watching nothing more risqué than Lassie Come Home.
And get a load of this wholehearted defence from Jeffrey’s party leader:
Peter Robinson, its leader, said: “Mr Donaldson has been asked to pay back any expenses which have not been properly incurred and I understand that he intends to do so.
“In the light of his categorical denials, Mr Donaldson is clearly entitled to a presumption of innocence. If any evidence to substantiate the allegations can be provided we would of course wish to consider it.”
Peter is of course aware of what can happen when DUP representatives indulge in hotel-based entertainment – that’s why the party had to give rising star Paul Berry the bum’s rush after his close encounter with a masseur of the homosexual persuasion. Not to mention various other skeletons lurking in party members’ closets. But Jeffrey’s moral conservatism is well known, and I do think Peter could have been a bit more forthright on this matter.
After all, Jeffrey is a valued colleague, and Peter has full confidence in him and wouldn’t give any succour to those who would undermine him. Isn’t that right?