Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What Laws Have Been Broken?

There seems to be a smorgasbord of potential offences committed in this illegal funding operation for the Labour party. Money laundering, fraudulent misrepresentation, numerous offences under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, the list goes on.

So all you loafing lawyers and amateur barrister wannabees, lets see if we can compile a list of potential charges to be faced in the comments. Should make pleasant reading…

Parallel Investigations Under Way

Guido has just got off the phone with the Electoral Commission and they were being reasonably tight-lipped about their investigation. They would only say that it started yesterday and it was being handled by their compliance department.

They would not be drawn to comment on how it might run in the very likely event that the police begin a criminal investigation.

Nobody is taking the investigation into Harriet Harman that is reporting to Harriet Harman very seriously. Possibly because it is being carried out by Labour’s former general secretary, Lord Whitty, under the advice of the former bishop of Oxford and veteran Thought for the Day platitude peddler Lord Harries, and the former Labour Scottish Solicitor General, Lord McCluskey.

Everyone keeps repeating the same joke about “all we need now is an actress”. But we already have Ms Harman…

UPDATE : Peter Oborne in tomorrow’s Speccie :

‘Get me a Bishop. Get me a f—ing Bishop!’ Peter Mandelson, then Labour’s political strategist, yelled these words across the floor of Labour campaign headquarters at a rare moment of crisis before the 1997 general election. Inquiries were made, soundings taken in ecclesiastical and other circles. With surprising speed, lo and behold! there emerged out of pontifical obscurity the austere figure of Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford. The ecclesiastical potentate obligingly anathemised John Major and his works.

++ Huhne Demands Iain Blair Start Police Investigation ++

Chris Huhne has formally written to the Metropoplitan Police Commissioner Iain Blair to demand an investigation into Abrahams donations. In a bad tempered exchange with Ben Bradshaw on the Daily Politics he accused Labour and Lord Levy of selling honours. Bradshaw said it was a smear and defamatory. Huhne said “sue me”…

Vince Cable : "From Stalin to Mr Bean"

It has come to something when even the LibDems are taking the piss out of Gordon’s competence at PMQs. Vince has been very impressive on Northern Rock, military funding, the economy and slapping down Gordon. Some may wonder if the the LibDems have the best choice before them…

Mendacious Mendelsohn Must Go

Mortgage subsidy fiddler Geoff Hoon on Newsnight told Paxman “It seems clear that there could be no impropriety attached to Mr Mendelsohn he acted properly.”

Paxman: I wasn’t suggesting impropriety I was merely suggesting he knew who Mr Abrahams was.

Hoon: He has made clear he hasn’t solicited any donations whatsoever from Mr Abrahams and given the facts set out by Paul Mason in his interviews it seems highly unlikely that he would approach him for a donation given the history between the two men.

Hoon was not telling the truth as became clear minutes later when Abrahams contradicted him. Mendelsohn not only knew Abrahams, he knew about his substantial donations and currently wanted to discuss getting more for Gordon. He handwrote his letter addressed to “Dear David”…

In Westminster there is no murkier business than lobbying and of all the sleazy lobbyists there is no sleazier firm than LLM – Lawson, Lucas, Mendelsohn. Famous for cash-for-access scandals, representing opposing sides on legislation and generally being the scummiest lobbying firm in the Westminster village with coincidentally the closest links to New Labour.

So when Gordon Brown told us he wanted to clean up politics after the sleaze of the Blair era, he clearly wanted to put all that dodgy fundraising behind him. So why did he appoint lobbyist Jon Mendelsohn as the Labour party’s Director of General Election Resources, reporting directly to wee Douglas Alexander?

Mendelsohn is a friend and protege of Sleazy Lord Levy. After he cashed in his LLM stock his days at the office were spent on the phone on behalf of Labour Friends of Israel, plotting with Levy, using all the same hustling tricks as Levy. It would be very interesting to see how many Mendelsohn clients got honours…

Jon’s firm pioneered cash-for-access in the early days of New Labour for LLM clients, he is at the centre of a web of financial links to Labour; Treasurer of Policy Network, Treasurer of Progress, deeply involved in Labour Friends of Israel. His firm is infamous for lobbying on behalf of two opposing cities to get a super-casino. This is not the first or the last time that his mendaciousness has been exposed…

It is clear that Mendelsohn knew that Abrahams was the real donor of substantial sums, in which case he was in the know about an illegal funding operation, he can’t remain the head of Labour’s fundraising efforts in those circumstances.

Two of Brown’s Fundraisers Linked to Abrahams

Sir Sigmund Sternberg (left) and David Abrahams (right)
The idea that Martin/David Abrahams is some kind of fringe outsider is being spun hard by the Labour party. Here he is pictured with Sir Sigmund Sternberg, a donor to Gordon’s leadership campaign and long time Labour party insider and financial backer. It was Sir Sigmund who sponsored Abrahams’ induction into the London Rotary Club last year.

In a surprise last night on Newsnight, Abrahams spoke by phone to Paxman and read out on air a letter of thanks from Jon Mendelsohn, Brown’s personal fundraiser, thanking him for his financial support and inviting him to a meeting in London. The letter was according to Abrahams received only yesterday, implying it was mailed just before the Mail story ran. Further proof that he was not a distant outsider as is now claimed, but someone who was considered by Brown intimates to be a known big backer of the Labour party.

Newsnight transcript:

Paxman: How recently have you been in contact with Gordon Brown’s fundraiser, Jonathan Mendelson?

Abrahams: Well, I’ve just got a letter today through my door in Newcastle, it came at 1.30pm today and it’s a personal message from John Mendelson and I’ll just read you extracts of the letter, it’s in his own hand.

“Dear David thank you for your message which Oliver passed onto me, the party is of course very appreciative of all the support you have given over many years at some point I would like to have the opportunity to talk with you personally about what we are doing and our plans for the time between now and the next general election. I know your diary is very busy but as one of the party’s strongest supporters it is only right that you are kept informed of what we are doing and the priorities that we are assigning to our resources. Any time that your diary allows, when you are next in London, I would very much like to meet to discuss this with you. Warmest regards. John. The Director of General Election Resources.

Paxman: And that letter arrived today

Abrahams: And that is contrary to what Geoff Hoon just stated on the program

Paxman: Absolutely.

Paxman: Can you tell us on the question of the support for Harriet Harman’s campaign for the deputy leadership? Do you know whether she approached Janet Kidd or did Janet Kidd approach her camp?

Abrahams: I genuinely don’t know, I can’t recall. I’ve been trying to think of this all evening. Umm. I can remember Hilary Benn because I gave him a cheque personally. Umm I can’t precisely recall what happened in the case of Harriet Harman. I’d totally forgotten about my donation to Hilary Benn when all this erupted at the weekend. It was just when it came out today, it jogged my memory

Paxman: Just as a matter of curiosity why did you back two candidates in the deputy leadership?

Abrahams: I backed Hilary Benn

Paxman: Oh, you didn’t put up the money for Mrs Kidd to give to Harriet Harman?

Abrahams: I backed Hilary Benn

Paxman: Did you give Mrs Kidd money to give to anybody?

Abrahams: I’ve just answered that question Jeremy and I umm and I think you should be satisfied with the explanation I have just given you.

Paxman: I just want to be absolutely clear about this if Harriet Harman received any money from Mrs Kidd…

Abrahams: I don’t want you to give any inaccurate statements on this particular issue. I gave Hilary Benn a cheque direct, to his, in his hand for which he thanked me and that’s, as I say uh was umm my preferred candidate.

Paxman: What’s this whole experience done to your future plans to support the labour party?

Abrahams: I’ll have to review them in the light of new legislation which I hope is brought onto the statute book as early as possible because this is just a total fiasco and when the act, and I was at a seminar in 2000, and when the act was explained to me at Durham County Hall, and being on the northern regional executive at the time, we had a day seminar on it and at the time I said that I didn’t like it, it seemed very clumsy there was a lot of loop holes in it and I stood up for party uhh government funding for political parties.

Paxman: One further

Abrahams: That was the only way I saw the future

Paxman: One further point Mr Abrahams. How many people at a senior level perhaps Mr Mendelson, perhaps others have known that you have been supporting the party in the way that you have been?

Abrahams: I can’t tell you for sure, because as far as I was concerned, I suggested to my associates that they made donations to the labour party and umm I did mention to the general secretary that I knew people who would support the labour party and I would be instrumental in insuring that donations were forthcoming and that was my role in that specific, for that specific purpose without wanting to get directly involved myself and at the same time until the weekend I didn’t know it was illegal for a person to hasn’t personally donated to declare his hand to the electoral commission otherwise I most certainly wouldn’t have contributed in this way

Paxman: Mr Abrahams, thank you for taking the time to join us, thank you.

The police will have a lot of questions to ask…

Pretty Vacant

The Secretary
Committee on Standards in Public Life,
35 Great Smith Street,
London SW1P 3BQ

Dear Sir,

As a close observer of public life with a particular interest in the integrity and honesty of politicians, I am a tad concerned that the Committee on Standards in Public Life is currently without a chairman.

This seems like a very bad moment for the Committee to be short staffed. In the circumstances I would like to put my name forward for the position. Please could you advise me as to how the recruitment process works?

Yours faithfully,

Mr G. Fawkes.


Seen Elsewhere

Corrupt, Incompetent UN Has No Right to Lecture Us | Dan Hannan
Mirror’s Lazy Lie | Guardian
Hungary’s Heir to Thatcher | Conservative Woman
Farage and Salmond Both Want Outopia | David Aaronovitch
More Missing UKIP Money | Times
Church Should Fight Evil of Welfare Dependency | Stephen Glover
1 in 16 Pick Up Infections in Filthy NHS Hospitals | Mail
Let’s Get Evangelical | David Cameron
From the IRA to Windsor Castle | WSJ
Coulson: Everything You Need to Know in 6 Seconds | MediaGuido
Mo Ansar’s Silence | Adrian Hilton


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Cathy Jamieson MP, Labour’s Shadow Treasury minister, commenting on Treasury analysis of the economic impact of tax changes…

“If the Treasury is looking at the economic impact of tax changes, then surely it should examine the impact of the rise in VAT and cuts to tax credits? George Osborne’s £12 billion VAT rise knocked confidence, helped to choke off the recovery and has cost families £1,350 over the last three years.”



orkneylad says:

What’s he been doing FFS, mining bitcoins?


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