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A Westminster think-tank has had to scrap its annual Honest Politician Of The Year Award because no qualifying candidates could be found.

The influential Adam Smith Institute, which organises the annual Award, said that it had considered a number of promising nominees, but found insufficient evidence to prove their honesty to the Award jury.

Anthony Steen MP was nominated for his frank view that people were “jealous” of his Balmoral-type second home. However, the jury ruled this untruthful because Balmoral lacks a taxpayer-funded duck house.

Nicholas Winterton MP also reached the shortlist for so truthfully expressing his opinion of standard-class travellers as “a totally different type of people.” But he was disqualified for falsely claiming that his views had been “misrepresented”.

Next year the Adam Smith Institute will give its award instead to the Corrupt Politician Of The Year. “This should give us many more candidates, said Institute director Dr Eamonn Butler. “Indeed, I can think of 646 already.”

“Corrupt politicians are actually the most honest. They have to do what they are bribed to do in order to stay in business. So when bought, they stay bought.”

Another problem for the Awards is that the trophy, depicting a golden hand in a back pocket, and sponsored by Lord Mandelson’s mortgage broker, has been lost. Stephen Byers held it in recognition of his sincere contempt for Railtrack shareholders, but somehow managed to leave it in a cab for hire. Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt have been hired to ask questions, for the usual consultancy fee.

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