Date: May 05 2012
The man who has accused Speaker Peter Slipper of sexual harassment and fraud, James Hunter Ashby, was actively working against his boss's re-election as he continued to work in Mr Slipper's office.
The Canberra Times can reveal Mr Ashby was promoting the preselection campaign of one of Mr Slipper's Liberal National Party political rivals in a series of YouTube videos while he was working as a media adviser to the Speaker.
The Canberra Times has also learned Mr Ashby held a secret meeting with another of the Speaker's political rivals and former Howard government minister Mal Brough, just two weeks before his explosive claims against Mr Slipper were made public.
The subject of two videos compiled by Mr Ashby is Sunshine Coast businesswoman Peta Simpson who intends to - along with Mr Brough - nominate for the seat of Fisher, which is currently held by Mr Slipper.
Ms Simpson confirmed yesterday she knew Mr Ashby well and was aware he had been promoting her on his personal YouTube channel as late as February, almost three months after Mr Ashby resigned from the LNP and took the job in Mr Slipper's office.
Meanwhile, a Sunshine Coast LNP member revealed to The Canberra Times that Mr Ashby met Mr Slipper's long-time political rival, Mr Brough, on the Sunshine Coast in early April when he was still working as Mr Slipper's press secretary.
This was backed by another senior LNP source, with yet another LNP member having written anonymously to party headquarters over their concerns about the meeting between Mr Brough and Mr Ashby.
Labor has spent the week fanning speculation Coalition members had prior knowledge of Mr Ashby's sexual harassment claim lodged against Mr Slipper, which has forced Mr Slipper to stand down from the chair.
Trade Minister Craig Emerson continued his allegations of an opposition ''cover-up''.
Mr Ashby's spokesman did not return calls for comment yesterday.
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