Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke just said to Lord Foulkes at the bar…

“It’s all fucking turning into the fucking Gordon show.”

Gordon Tells Half-Empty Hall “I Lead the World”

gordon_empty_room
Even the Labour faithful are no longer listening to Gordon as he gives a speech repeating all his stock phrases. This picture taken seconds after he finishes speaking (you can still see him on the big screen) reveals a half-empty hall.  When you can’t even stage-manage the true believers…

UKBA Want to Know the Truth About the Missing Passport

Tongan PassportGuido has established that the passport found in the UK Border Agency raid on Lolo’s flat was expired long before Lolo got her job with Baroness Scotland.  There is quite simply no way that she could have used that passport to prove anything to the Baroness.  The UKBA raid found the documents as described in Lolo’s interview in the Mail on Sunday.

What does this mean?  It means that so far no evidence has been uncovered to support Patricia Scotland’s claim that she saw a valid passport – obviously if the passport existed and she had taken a copy of it she would  have been in the clear. Noticeably in the earliest comments briefed to the press there was no mention of a passport, “She hired Ms Tapui in good faith and saw documents which led her to believe that Ms Tapui was entitled to work in this country”. Later in the week when investigators from the UKBA interviewed the Attorney General informally, not under caution, she claimed to have seen a passport. That is her line with the press now.

The Sunday papers have all been spun the same line

A spokeswoman for Scotland said she had given the same details to the UK Border Agency when they interviewed her, adding: “They completely accepted our version of events.”

Privately UKBA investigators don’t entirely accept Lady Scotland’s version of events without reservation, which is why they have been trying, without success so far, to establish with the Tongan High Commission in London whether or not a second subsequent passport for Lolo had been issued.  As yet they have been unable to establish conclusively the truth of Lolo’s claim that she has never applied for a second passport.

Consider the implications: if, as Lolo claims, she did not have a second passport it would mean that for the Baroness to be telling the truth, Lolo would have had to presented her with a false forged passport.  Forged passports do not come cheap, demand from drug traffickers, terrorists and other criminals ensures that the black market in passports commands high prices.  How would a cleaner applying for a £6 per hour job afford to obtain a forged passport? If Lolo is telling the truth than the Baroness has possibly lied to investigators from the UK Border Agency.

target-baronessThe only alternative explanation which would support Lady Scotland’s story is that Lolo did in fact obtain a second passport from the Tongan High Commission in London or from the issuing authority in Tonga.  She could then feasibly have faked a permission to stay stamp in the passport.  The UKBA investigation is going to find out the truth this week.  If there is in fact no second passport (the raid of course did not find one) we will be expected to believe the assertions of the Attorney General, despite there being no evidence to support her assertions.  We will be expected to believe that Lolo had the ability, finances and motivation to obtain a forged passport merely to get a minimum wage cleaning job.  Does that make more sense than the reason the Baroness did not make a copy of the passport is that there simply wasn’t a passport to copy?

The Baroness better hope the Tongan authorities uncover a second passport application…

UPDATE : In the comments the question is posed as to why the UKBA determined and issued a fine so fast.  The simple answer is they were under tremendous political pressure.  The fine was half the maximum £10,000 because the Baroness had “cooperated”Summary justice in 36 hours is amazing.

The Magical Disappearing Tongan Passport

Guido is off for a picnic and possibly a post-picnic snooze. When Guido gets back he’ll be blogging information which will give the Baroness a sleepless night…

+++ Marr Asks : Are You Taking Pills? +++

Gordon denied it in unclear terms.

UPDATE : Who Will Ask the Prime Minister? was Guido’s question earlier this month.  All credit to Andrew Marr, who has often been criticised by Guido for pulling his punches in interviews with Gordon Brown. 

Gordon looked furious.

UPDATE II : James Forsyth and Sam Coates both question whether it was right to ask the Prime Mentalist if he was on pills, Guido suspects they don’t think it right.  However there are not only persistent rumours going around about Gordon’s mental health, there are also rumours and speculation (even in the Spectator and Times) that he will be removed from the leadership in a choreographed ill health waltz off into the sunset.  Gordon was given a chance to slap those rumours down.  After the Charles Kennedy cover-up the Lobby needs to get these issues out into the open instead of worry about getting the cold shoulder from a Downing Street press officer.  Bravo Marr.

UPDATE III : Strangely Guido is unable to find the clip on the BBC site so this is courtesy of ToryBear -

Sunday Sleaze Repeat

Sunday SleazeFiddler

This Sunday the central sleaze story is still Patricia Scotland…

Sunday Times on how the Cabinet Office turned a fiddle into a farce.

Mail on Sunday with Lolo’s own story.

Guido will have more after he has his breakfast…



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Quote of the Day

Labour’s Austin Mitchell muses on the campaign:

“What’s the problem? No use pointing at the leader. Too late to change and unnecessary for Miliband is doing well at Question Time. His problem is connecting with the real world. He doesn`t speak people and his protective team of naive kids are playing West Wing rather than letting the leader relate to real people. We could point at the party, shrunk in numbers and enthusiasm because everything, from policy formulation to candidate selection, comes top down rather than bubbling up from below so campaigning becomes the opium of members deprived of any real role, though they`re not even sure what they’re campaigning about, with or for, but its role is marginal.”

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