David Hughes McCann's Former Media Adviser in MP's Tax Evasion Scandal
Lib Dem MP in council tax probe had THREE men staying with her
By Glen Owen
Last updated at 3:39 AM on 8th August 2010
On the campaign trail: Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt with leader Nick Clegg
The saga of the MP accused of making false council tax claims took another bizarre twist last night as an adviser to Kate and Gerry McCann was dragged into the affair.
David Hughes, who was media adviser to the McCanns in the months after their daughter Madeleine disappeared, admitted staying with Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt while she claimed a single resident’s discount.
Mrs Munt, 50, has already been threatened with police action after it was discovered that BBC radio presenter Andy Kershaw and a local GP were recorded as living at her home while she was receiving the rebate.
It has been alleged that Mrs Munt, who is separated from her husband, had a secret affair with the GP, Dr John Laband, and charged him £200 a month to rent a room in her house while she claimed to be living alone.
The extraordinary developments have prompted political rivals to call for Mrs Munt, the MP for
Wells, Somerset, to resign just three months after being elected.
Mr Hughes confirmed yesterday that he had been quizzed by the local authority, Sedgemoor District Council, as part of its investigation into Mrs Munt’s council tax bill.
Mr Hughes, a Liberal Democrat activist, has told the council that he stayed at Mrs Munt’s house for an unspecified period during the past two years while visiting his ex-wife and their children, who live in Somerset. Curiously, he is registered to vote at Mrs Munt’s house despite having a house in London.
Asked about his relationship with Mrs Munt, Mr Hughes said: ‘I have absolutely nothing to say about personal matters.
‘I gave Sedgemoor Council a detailed account of my movements and haven’t heard back from them. I told them that I had stayed [at Mrs Munt’s house] from time to time over a number of months because my children and ex-wife live elsewhere in the county.
‘I would often support Tessa with her campaign on my way through to visit them. I am an itinerant person, and divide my time between Somerset and London.’
Mr Hughes admitted: ‘I believe I am still on the electoral roll. I have not done anything to remove myself, although the council may have decided that I am not an appropriate person to be on the roll and removed me. I don’t know.’
Mr Hughes advised the McCanns after three-year-old Madeleine disappeared from a holiday flat in Praia da Luz in Portugal in May 2007.
The council’s investigation is focused on 2008, when both Dr Laband and Mr Kershaw were recorded as living at Mrs Munt’s house, where Mr Kershaw was registered to vote.
Mrs Munt says that she rescued Dr Laband from sleeping on his garage floor while his wife filed for divorce, offering him a place to stay briefly. She says that Mr Kershaw, 50, who at the time was ‘on the run’ from the authorities on the Isle of Man over a broken restraining order, had visited her and left his dog with her for eight weeks while he visited other friends.
Neighbours say that during 2008 a number of strangers appeared to be staying at Mrs Munt’s detached house at Mark on the Somerset Levels. One said: ‘None of the locals knew who they were. People were coming and going all the time.’
Mrs Munt, who separated from her husband Martin, with whom she raised three children, before her alleged affair with Dr Laband, is now believed to have a new partner who lives nearby. She stopped claiming the council tax discount in May. She was not available for comment.
A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: ‘None of these people was staying permanently with Mrs Munt.’
Sedgemoor Council refuses to discuss individual cases.
in Daily Mail
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The LibDems Who Are Advising the McCanns
Iain Dale 7:06 PM September 07, 2007
I've spent much of the day with Sky News on in the background. One could be forgiven for thinking that there was no other news today apart from the developments in Portimao regarding the McCanns.
You wouldn't think there was a political angle to the unfolding drama in Portugal, would you? But there is. Kate McCann's lawyer is the former Libdem candidate and blogger Justine McGuinness and who did I spy accompanying Mrs McCann to the police station but none other than LibDem supporting PR consultant David Hughes?
I suppose it's inevitable, given the huge media interest, that the McCanns have had to employ the services of a PR consultant, but I'm sure that most people wish the TV coverage wasn't so completely obsessed with speculating on what might or might not be going on. People's lives are at stake here.
CLARIFICATION: One or two people in the comments have interpreted this post as an attack on the LibDems. I still can't quite see how, but can I just make it clear that it is not. David Hughes is a friend of mine and was one of my best customers at Politico's. All I was doing was observing that two LibDems were advising the McCanns. Nothing more nothing less. Two commenters have pointed out that Esther McVey is too. I hope all three are doing a good job, as it seems to me that they are about to be 'fitted up', if that's the phrase.
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