SECONDS OUT…ROUND FIVE by Ian Hernon

Sex sells, as any advertising executive knows. Think Wonderbra. Think Cadbury’s Flake. Think almost every TV perfume ad.

But at election time, it can be a bit of a liability when politicians are plugging their own claims to decent family values. To say the least.

US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri, at the centre of allegations that Boris Johnson gave her preferential treatment when running the GLC, surfaced again to the PM’s embarrassment. She claimed that he cast her aside like she was “some gremlin” and treated her like a “one-night stand.”

Boris, it hardly needs saying, is the epitome of propriety, although his first two wives might disagree. His current girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, has kept her silence.

Tory premier John Major carried on a clandestine affair with Edwina Currie despite the media’s election spotlight. And there was Cabinet minister Cecil Parkinson, a weak man caught between three strong women – Mrs Thatcher, his wife and his pregnant mistress.

Labour has traditionally been better known for financial rather than sexual scandals, although the party previously had to contend with the “badger-watching” activities of former Welsh Secretary Ron Davies when caught on Clapham Common and elsewhere.

Former Liberal Democrat Leader Paddy Ashdown was nicknamed ‘Paddy Pantsdown’ after admitting to an extramarital affair. Going back a lot further, Liberal icon and World War One premier Lloyd George was known as ‘The Goat” because of his numerous liaisons while in No 10, not least with the wives of his ministers.

So there is nothing new in senior politicians playing away. The question is whether this time around it will impact on an electorate divided over Brexit and other far more important affairs.

And at least Boris and company don’t have to deal with errant members of our own Royal Family.

Like the fall-out from the car-crash interview with the Duke of York, in his youth dubbed ‘Randy Andy,’ over his relationship with super-rich crony and convicted child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

I know nothing about what went on, or didn’t, in some bad taste, bling-laden New York penthouse, but his ‘alibi’ that he was partying at a Pizza Express in Woking, Surrey, hardly rings true. Did he not watch the BBC adaption of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds in which Martians reduced Working to rubble and ash?

Meanwhile, another cracker from former Health Secretary Frank Dobson, who died last week. When Mrs Thatcher’s government sold the British car giant Rover, he said in the Commons: “The price charged was so low there is a suspicion that Trade Secretary Lord Young thought it was a dog.”

ROUND 5 score: Tories 6/10

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