NICK RAYNSFORD, minister for planning and construction, was this week accused of neglecting his duties as a Government minister in favour of running Frank Dobson's campaign to be London Mayor.
Conservative shadow minister for London Shaun Woodward was outraged after Raynsford failed to attend a recent housing and planning conference in Scarborough last week. Woodward has demanded that Raynsford make a choice between his ministerial job and his role as Dobson's campaign manager.
'It strikes me that many people in Britain will find it unacceptable that you seem to be devoting so much of your time to promoting Mr Dobson at the expense of your ministerial responsibilities,' he wrote in a letter to Raynsford this week. 'Clearly you cannot fulfil both roles effectively.'
Woodward claimed Raynsford's non-appearance at the National Council for Housing Planning Conference was due to his commitments to the Dobson campaign. He claimed this unofficial position conflicted with his public responsibilities.
Raynsford was unavailable to comment on the allegation or to clarify his position. He took over as campaign manager for Dobson just two days after putting his own name forward as a candidate for Mayor. Raynsford has since passed his ministerial responsibilities for London to transport minister Keith Hill to avoid any conflict of interest.