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Paul Richards is clearly not happy about Guido’s run of scoops about the Labour Party’s internal problems.

 “It’s a great shame that someone thinks passing regular updates to Guido Fawkes is the best way of settling disputes. I’m a bit exasperated and I expect many Labour Party members will be too. It’s pretty despicable really.”

This zinger just in from a senior Labour source

“Its a bit f*****g rich of Paul Richards telling people to stop doing hostile briefings, it is a bit like desperate Dan telling everyone to go vegan.”

Our source reminds us that when he was Hazel Blears’ SpAd Paul Richards constantly briefed against John Prescott to try and further Hazel Blears’ position. The poisonous “YouTube if you want to” uncoded attack on Gordon Brown was drafted by him and he encouraged Hazel Blears to wear a “rock the boat” broach on the day of the European and local elections after she resigned.

“He was one of the most poisonous f*****g briefers working for anyone in the cabinet…”

… screams our exasperated Labour stalwart…

Fox Fined

Fox is down three grand after the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner and the Standards and Privileges Committee ruled that he was in breach of the rules by allowing “his friend Adam Werritty to stay rent-free.” He’s managed to avoid another vocal apology in the House though, he’ll have to but in writing instead. He also got a slap on the wrist for running his now defunct charity Atlantic Bridge from Parliament. Any excuse to run Guido’s favourite graphic from that scandal last year…

Former Blears SpAd Paul Richards tells PoliticsHome:

“It’s a great shame that someone thinks passing regular updates to Guido Fawkes is the best way of settling disputes. I’m a bit exasperated and I expect many Labour Party members will be too. It’s pretty despicable really.”

Labour Staffers Call in the Unions in Row with Leadership Anger Growing at Former Goldman Sachs Adviser’s Actions

The row over the Labour Party’s internal restructuring is growing. Guido understands that Labour HQ staffers have gone to union arbitrators from the GMB as their dispute over the appointment of the new Executive Directors continues. Given that the party managed to overspend by £1.7m last year, a strike might just save them a bit of cash…

Chief of Staff Tim Livesey is said to be in despair at “what an amateur operation the whole thing is…”. In an attempt to take the heat out of the ongoing battle he has told staff that, from now onwards, all appointments will be advertised internally, though that current employees should not hold their breath for selection.

Sir Charles Allen, who is overseeing the transition that will squeeze the National Executive Committee and other elected officials out is, Labour always emphasise, a former chairman of ITV. What the Labour Party are less keen to mention is that he is also a former Senior Private Equity Advisor at Goldman Sachs. Given Goldman’s are back in the headlines after one of their execs spectacularly quit and told the New York Times that they think their clients are Muppets, it’s no wonder one Labour insider said Allen is “treating HQ like muppets…” Well it’s a step up from ferrets…

Ken Changes His Story on His Tax Affairs Advised By Back Street Tax Planners

Down a back alley in Brighton you will find the rusty dirty nameplate of the backstreet accountancy firm that advises Ken Livingstone on how to arrange his tax affairs. Peter Auguste & Co advertise that they specialise in “tax planning”. The same firm audited the company accounts that Ken has today finally admitted in an LBC interview [below] were used to minimise his personal income taxes.

A change in Ken’s line brought about by the ridicule from even Labour allies about his hypocrisy on taxes. He now justifies his cynical tax planning on the basis that

“I’ve employed three people since I left office. For three years, my wife who typed my autobiography, a good economist who worked out how we can cut fares and a woman to handle my media.”

He told Marr on Sunday that he paid the economist to cost his policies for his campaign and told Nick Ferrari that the third staffer handles his media for the campaign. These are effectively corporate donations to his Mayoral campaign that have to be declared to the Electoral Commission. They have not been declared.

HMRC, under the Companies Act 2006, has strict rules on the tax deductibility of political donations, not least of which being that shareholders have to approve them and it is a requirement that the firm keeps records of such decisions for ten years.

Guido will bet that no such records have been kept and no such formal authorisation was obtained. In fact as a director Ken signed off the company accounts prepared by Peter Auguste & Co. saying the exact opposite:

Ken can’t have it both ways, if he used company funds to pay his campaign staff – as he told Andy Marr and Nick Ferrari – that is clearly a related party transaction if there ever was one. The political campaign staff’s payments should be properly declared to HMRC as a political donation, which should also have been declared to the Electoral Commission as a benefit in kind. Why are all these records missing? Is he telling the truth or making it up as he goes along? The hypocrisy of Ken manipulating his taxes for political advantage and attacking others for not paying taxes is beyond parody. There is always a smell around Ken’s campaign finances..

Washington Post Attacks Pilgrims


Back in June Guido reported that the campaign to end taxpayer funding of trade union officials had gone global. Phil Gingrey, a Republican congressman from Georgia, was attempting to restrict the activity of Pilgrims, or what they call “release time”. Today’s Washington Post has waded into the growing disquiet at “Union business, on the taxpayers’ dime“:

“…if union activities were paid for by union dues rather than tax dollars, there would be less dues money available for campaign contributions to the grateful politicians who negotiate release-time benefits for the contributing unions.

Release-time provisions have existed for 40 years. What is new is a willingness to call attention to them and contest them, a willingness born of the pressure the recession has put on municipal budgets. Just as a recession has the benefit of making private enterprises more conscious of efficiencies, it makes governments less cavalier about expenditures.”

So the barriers to change are the same on both sides of the pond: greedy politicos.

The JC reports Ken trying to defend taking the Iranian shilling:

“Mr Livingstone said it was important for him to get his views across to the Iranian people…”

Tory Chief Whip Calls For Gay Marriage Free Vote

Speaking at a rally of right-wingers in Parliament yesterday, Tory Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin, a man who has never really said anything on the record, ever, gave an intriguing nudge about gay marriage. In his speech to The Young Britons’ Foundation he declared that any vote on potential legislation should be a free vote. Given the stick he has carried when dealing with other contentious issues that his backbenchers don’t like, this could diffuse a mighty row.

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Quote of the Day

Trump supporter Raheem Kassam responds to Suzanne Evans calling him “far right”:

“We’re going to rise above it. When she goes low, we go high, to quote Michelle Obama.”

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