Sunday, January 13, 2008
PETER Hain, the work and pensions secretary, last night insisted he was too busy to notice that he had been given a £100,000 luxury supercar.
Mr Hain admitted the car had probably arrived during his failed bid for the Labour deputy leadership, adding that it handled magnificently.
He said: "I was so focused on my role as Northern Ireland secretary at the time that I would simply get out of bed and head off to work without noticing that I was behind the wheel of a brand new Bentley Continental GT.
"I thought it was just some kind of fancy bicycle.
"Still, I have to say, this is a serious motor. It goes like shit off a shovel and can remember my three favourite driving positions.
"And oooooh, the leather. I could just sit there rubbing it all day."
According to Mr Hain's campaign records the car was donated by a little known left-wing think tank, the Progressive Policy Forum. The organisation was set up to conduct research into key areas of public policy and to give cars and money to senior Labour politicians.
In addition to Mr Hain's Bentley, the think tank donated a Mercedes S-Class to Hilary Benn and a top-of-the-range Volvo XC90 to communities secretary Hazel Blears.
Mrs Blears registered her car with the electoral commission along with the handwritten comment, 'You fuckin' beauty!'.