I shouldn’t have been surprised to see this misleading letter in the Gazette today. I guess someone in the Ealing Labour party saw my blog piece on Sharma’s recent trip to Cape Town and got one of their little helpers to drop a letter to the Gazette.
When Kingston says that Sharma was “abroad” he means Sharma was in Cape Town, South Africa attending a Global TB Summit that ended on 30th November.
Parliament was sitting at the time of the Syria vote on December 2nd so you might have thought that Sharma would have planned to be back in the UK as soon as possible to do the job he is paid to do. The comparison with Conservative MP Nick Herbert who was Co-Chair of the event in Cape Town but managed to get back for the vote does not show Sharma in a good light.
Obviously Cape Town is a lovely place and it must have been tempting to add a few days on to his trip. Of course it would have cost a lot of money to change his flight to get back in time, money that Sharma was not prepared to spend out of his own pocket clearly. The reason Sharma didn’t turn up for the Syria vote is because he planned a sneaky holiday when he should have been working. The Syria vote caught him out otherwise no-one would have noticed. Shame on Ian Kingston and Ealing Labour for trying to hide the facts.