Paul Alexander Cyril Goodman

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Paul Goodman succeeded Ray Whitney as Conservative MP for Wycombe in 2001.[1]

Northern Ireland Unionist connection

In 1995 Goodman was linked to a group of right-wing unionists (Friends of the Union) responsible for the leaking of a draft Framework Document in the early stages of the Irish peace process. Adrian Lithgow wrote in a 1995 article for the Mail on Sunday:

Last night it was becoming clear that a caucus of fervent Loyalists under the umbrella of a Unionist study group is closely associated with the leaker. It is made up of PR man David Burnside, D'Ancona himself; Dean Godson, a Daily Telegraph staff reporter; Paul Goodman, Northern Ireland correspondent on the Sunday Telegraph; Noel Malcolm, a historian and Daily Telegraph political columnist; Andrew McHallam, executive director of the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies; Charles Moore, editor of the Sunday Telegraph; Simon Pearce, a Conservative election candidate; company director Justin Shaw and historian Andrew Roberts. One of the group said last night: 'We didn't want the position when the framework document was published of being out in the cold as we were over the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985. There was a coming together of minds over what should be done.'[2]


After the 2001 general election, Michael Gove identified Goodman as a potential star of the new intake of Tory MPs, along with David Cameron and George Osborne.[3]

Shadow Communities Minister

Attacking Labour on Preventing violent Extremism'

In October 2009, Goodman criticised what he termed "a major shift in Labour’s policy towards violent extremism and extremism":

People who support attacks on our troops or on civilians aren’t always in breach of the law. Questions therefore arise. Will Ministers now sit down with the Luton extremists who brandished banners describing our troops as “murderers”, “terrorists” and “butchers of Basra?” Or with the Muslim Brotherhood? Or - if not breaking the law is the measure - with the BNP? I ask because this is the logic of Denham’s own words.[4]

Muslim Schools Row

Paul Goodman speaking on BBC Newsnight, 25 November 2009.

In November 2009, Conservative Leader David Cameron claimed incorrectly that the Government was funding two Muslims schools linked to Hizb ut Tahrir through the Preventing Violent Extremism programme. According to the Times, Michael Gove was blamed for the error:

As the mistake came to light in the course of Wednesday afternoon Paul Goodman, the Shadow Communities Minister, was scrambled to field the flak. Mr Goodman, an expert on Hizb ut Tahrir and a former journalist, did his best to rescue the thrust of the attack on Newsnight on BBC Two.[5]

One report described Goodman's interview with Paxman as an "explosive confrontation".[6] The initial portion of the discussion went as follows:

Jeremy Paxman: Paul Goodman, why did your party claim that one of these schools wasn't registered when it was?
Paul Goodman: Well, I'm not sure that you're right about that, because the registration concerned was not on the main education department website.
JP: What you mean is you couldn't find it.
PG: No, it was not on the main website. The website your reporter was referring to a few moments ago, was a different website. Now, I think we ought to get off these trivialities and asides, and go to the main fact, which is this that a charity - if I could just finish -
JP: The convention is, I'll ask you some questions.
PG: a charity controlled by an extremist organisation has been funded by Mr Balls' department, and I think you should ask him about that.
JP: I shall do in a second or two but lets go on with a few of your other inaccuracies first, shall we? Why did you claim the schools hadn't been expected when they had been?
PG: As I just said a moment ago, our main claim has been triumphantly vindicated today which is that a charity controlled by an extremist organisation, that supports attacks on our troops in Afghanistan, has been funded by Ed Balls' department.
JP: Why did Mr Cameron claim that these schools had received money from the Preventing Violent Extremism Fund when they had not?
PG: David said they had received money from a Pathfinder which was absolutely accurate, and yet again, I'm afraid that Ed Balls is throwing up chaff here, which is reflected by your programme. The main point here, which is an incredibly serious one..
JP:He hasn't even spoken yet. I've asked you some questions, which you've failed to answer.
PG: He's putting out a lot of spin today which I think is reflected by your line of questioning. As I say, the main question really is this. A charity controlled by an extremist organisation, that supports attacks on our troops in Afghanistan, and your programme mentioned Afghanistan, has been funded by his department and I think you should ask him why that's happened.
JP: Perhaps if you could calm down a little bit, you could answer a straight question, but you're obviously not going to do so.
PG: I've answered both your questions, so far, the first was inaccurate.
JP: You have not.[7]

Douglas Murray row

In an October 2011 article supporting gay marriage, Douglas Murray criticised Goodman's opposition to a change in the law, stating: 'This time around, in opposing the government's equal-marriage proposals, he cites among other things the importance of canvassing Muslim opinion in any plan for equality. To call this disingenuous is to state the situation too generously.'[8]

Goodman responded in a letter to the Spectator:

Sir: Your readers may have been wondering what I've done to excite Douglas Murray.
His reference to Muslims supplies the answer. When in parliament, I was responsible for severing official relations between him and the Conservative front bench. He had said that 'conditions for Muslims in Europe should be made harder across the board', that all immigration from Muslim countries 'should be stopped' (including, presumably, that of non-Muslims) and - on a reasonable reading of the speech concerned - that British Muslims voicing opposition to neoconservative wars should be deported. Murray thus bears a grudge that dare not speak its name. As evidence, I cite his earlier piece ('Blackballed by Cameron', 9 October 2010), in which our fearless crusader didn't have the courage to identify me. This pattern of evasion and vendetta may help to explain why his Centre for Social Cohesion is no longer active and his influence with government is zero. When it comes to sharing TV studios with Islamists, Murray is ever-present. But when it comes to hard grind - such as keeping them out of parliament - his pen is mostly absent.
The explanation of all this is simple. I see the fight against extremism as serious work.
Murray views it as a branch of the light entertainment industry.[9]

Writing in ConservativeHome, Goodman said of Murray's 2006 speech in the Netherlands:

A reasonable reading of his words is that any British Muslim who opposed whatever war an allied Government was waging at the time should be expelled from his home country. I was later shown his speech by other members of the Conservative front bench, who were extremely concerned about it.[10]

Goodman was supported by Cristina Odone who wrote in the Telegraph: 'No wonder that the Conservative Party promptly broke off all relations with Murray: to be seen to condone this vision of religious cleansing would be horrific.'[11]

Murray himself then wrote to The Spectator acknowledging for the first time that his 2006 speech had included intemperate comments: Since those requesting atonement included some who had previously praised the speech he was complaining about, I thought it a matter of principle not to back down. That was a mistake. But we all make them. Paul makes one when he says that the work of the Centre for Social Cohesion had no effect on government. I am pleased to say that the government's 'Prevent' and 'Contest' strategies as well as the latest annual review of terrorism legislation show that our work is taken very seriously indeed.[12]

The writer Ruth Dudley Edwards also wrote a letter of support, stating:

I was proud to be a director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, which under Douglas Murray's leadership produced a body of invaluable work on political extremism. Now merged with the Henry Jackson Society, it continues to cast a cold eye on dangerous elements - right and left - within our society.
It does not much bother me that, a few months after the 7/7 bombings, Douglas uttered a few infelicitous phrases. Nor am I concerned that he is too confrontational for a Conservative party bent on proving its niceness.[13]

Murray reiterated his recantation of his 2006 speech at ConservativeHome, stating:

Paul makes an attack on me based on one speech I gave in the Dutch Parliament many years ago now. The fact that the speech is unpublished (and indeed that the version on the web was de-published at my request some years back) is not mentioned by Paul. Instead he silently points to a web-cached version of that withdrawn speech. The simple fact about it is that the phrases that Goodman complains of are not opinions that I hold. I realised some years ago how poorly expressed the speech in question was, had it removed from the website and forbade further requests to publish it because it does not reflect my opinions.
Whilst trying to explain that extra rights should not be awarded to Muslims (such as extra welfare payments and so on) I undoubtedly framed – and phrased – the argument badly. I have written many hundreds of thousands of words on this subject – and spoken many hundreds of thousands more. My opinions have also altered significantly.[14]

In response, Goodman accused Murray of a pattern of disengenousness:

In short, Murray praised a speech twelve months ago that he now claims to have disowned for years.
Furthermore, I can find no previous record of him renouncing his Amsterdam speech – the course that I recommended to him when we met before the election. It is thus reasonable to ask whether he would have done so had I not raised the matter recently. Readers must decide for themselves whether first surreptitiously to remove a speech from a website, then laud it in print without direct quotation, and finally disown it under pressure – while claiming to have done so long ago – is decent or not.[15]


In March 2006 Goodman received a donation of £3,000.00 from Bestway Cash and Carry, Bestway Cash & Carry Ltd, owned by Tory donor Anwar Pervez.[16]




External Resources


  1. Wycombe, Aristotle - politics, accessed 4 March 2008.
  2. Mail on Sunday (London)February 5, 1995, Top-level conspirator who'll never be found HISTORIAN: Roberts DIRECTOR: McHallam CONSERVATIVE: Pearce; HOW ULSTER LEAK PLOTTERS BEAT SECURITY TO PROTECT SECRET SOURCE OF LEAK, BYLINE: Adrian Lithgow, SECTION: Pg. 6
  3. Michael Gove, Fermenting talents promise a better Tory vintage, The Times, 1 September 2001.
  4. Paul Goodman, Are Labour ministers about to dialogue with domestic extremists?, 2 October 2009.
  5. Francis Elliott, Schools supremo Michael Gove learns painful lesson about getting the facts right, The Times, 27 November 2009.
  6. MP told to "calm down" in Paxman clash, This is Local London, 26 November 2009.
  7. BBC Newsnight, 25 November 2009.
  8. Douglas Murray, Gay Rites, The Spectator, 1 October 2014.
  9. Paul Goodman, The Spectator, 15 October 2011.
  10. Paul Goodman, Paul Goodman: Why the Conservative frontbench broke off relations with Douglas Murray – and what happened afterwards, ConservativeHome, 17 October 2011.
  11. Cristina Odone, Why Paul Goodman is right (and brave) to take on Douglas Murray's Muslim-bashing, Telegraph, 17 October 2011.
  12. Douglas Murray, Letters, The Spectator, 22 October 2011.
  13. Douglas Murray, Letters, The Spectator, 22 October 2011.
  14. Douglas Murray, Douglas Murray: I’m not a bigot but Paul Goodman is, ConservativeHome, 15 October 2011.
  15. Paul Goodman, Why the Conservative frontbench broke off relations with Douglas Murray – and what happened afterwards, ConservativeHome, 17 October 2011.
  16. Electoral Commission, Donation search, accessed 20 February 2015