Business Secretary and obvious shoo-in for the next LibDem leader Vince Cable is on the lookout for a new spinner. His department is advertising for new comms man and are offering a generous £80,000 per year to the successful candidate. Apparently “personal credibility, political nous and sound judgement will be essential“. Someone should tell Vince…
Guido has to admire Boris’ cojones this afternoon. Peter Dominiczak reports that the London Mayor has invited Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi to be his guests of honour at Rebecca Adlington’s swimming final on Friday. Apparently Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger was also invited but was “unable to attend“. Might have been slightly awkward.
Why not bring the kids and make a day of it?
Yesterday Guido shone some light on over £8,000 worth of cheques written to Justine Greening’s agent in the run up to the 2010 General Election. Today he brought you a rather muddled statement from Wandsworth Conservatives that can be summarised as “move along people, nothing to see here”. They are currently standing by Robert Morritt – who is now a councillor and on the Audit Committee, ironically, of Wandsworth Council. As if the previous allegations were not enough to spark a new inquiry, how about this…
Guido can now reveal that a further £20,000 paid to Justine Greening’s former agent between 2007 and 2010 has gone unaccounted for. Wandsworth Conservative Group employees are required to record a reason for the issue of cheques in an invoice ledger, but Morritt failed to do so on no less than 23 separate occasions. Here is how the internal investigation – that Wandsworth Conservatives chairman Anthony Cole claims had settled the matter – covers the issue:
Why has Morritt failed to give an adequate explanation for £20,000 worth of cheques paid to him?
Where is the money?
Under Ed Miliband’s stewardship Labour have set themselves firmly against excessive pay for the wealthy: “There is a need for responsibility at the top as well as at the bottom. Rewards for failure are bad for society“.
Ed’s brother clearly didn’t get the memo however – defeated leadership candidate David has raked in some £500,000 in the last year thanks to a series of positions he holds in addition to being an MP. According to the Register of Members Interests, David earns over £25,000 per speech and £75,000 a year as a director at Sunderland FC, even pocketing a hundred grand for four days’ work as an advisor to an energy company in California. Welcome to the 1%…
Via William Green.
Wandsworth Conservative Group have broken cover in response to Guido’s recent exposé. Their Chairman Anthony Cole has released this statement:
“In the course of his employment with Wandsworth Conservative’s [sic.], Mr Morritt was required to incur expenses. In early 2010, legitimate questions were raised about expenses paid to Mr Morritt and the surrounding control systems. A detailed, thorough and independent investigation was performed and a series of detailed questions subsequently put to Mr Morritt. Mr Morritt satisfactorily answered all of these questions. There was no ‘missing money’ or ‘fraud’; there is absolutely no evidence he ‘kept the cash for himself’ or that there was personal gain for Mr Morritt. I request that you immediately desist from allegations to the contrary.”
They are standing by their Councillor Robert Morritt, who sits on Wandsworth Council’s audit committee…
So Mr Cole, Guido has a copy of the said report that was compiled in late 2010. As covered here, Morritt was forced out from his position as agent in July 2010 – after the General Election – and it was only after that the books were turned over and other questions arose. Guido has asked Wandsworth Tories whether “early 2010” suggests that suspicions had been raised pre-election.
The “detailed, thorough and independent investigation” that Guido has a copy of would suggest that far from “satisfactorily answering” questions about missing cash, it in fact opened a huge can of worms. Guido showed you yesterday over £8,000 of unexplained cheques. There are more to come too…
If there was no “missing money” or “fraud” how come the accounts do not show any reference to these “expenses” racked up by Mr Morritt? The accounts were not an accurate reflection of spending…
If, as Mr Cole claims, “Mr Morritt satisfactorily answered all of these questions…” and there was no “personal gain for Mr Morritt”, how come he was forced to pay back over £5,000 when he was ousted in autumn 2010?
Guido will “desist from allegations to the contrary” when some evidence is presented. Vague claims of “expenses” are not good enough in the light of overwhelming evidence of dodgy activity. Given Guido has the accounts, the reports and the cheques, perhaps Mr Cole and Mr Morritt would like to show him some receipts?
A US journalist has been forced to resign from the New Yorker magazine after being caught making up quotes from singer Bob Dylan. Jonah Lehrer first tried to contest the allegations but yesterday conceded that he had falsified quotes from the sixties legend: “I said that they were from archival interview footage provided to me by Dylan’s representatives. This was a lie spoken in a moment of panic. I then continued to lie and say things I should not have said.” Seems Johann Hari took his old tricks with him when he fled across the pond…
Pint sized French President Francois Hollande has stuck the boot in on the Olympics. It’s good to see France is shedding it’s international reputation as a sore loser – London beat Paris to host these Games:
“The problem is that there are simply too many corporate seats.
Another day and another Twitter user silenced. Before the dust has even settled on the Twitter joke trial, a 17 year old kid has been arrested, apparently after some seriously poor taste Tweets sent to Team GB diver Tom Daley. While his arrest over night is splitting opinion, its worth bearing in mind that while the messages sent about Daley’s dead father were disgusting, it was probably the threat to “drown” the diver that crossed the legal line and got the police involved.[…]
Earlier Guido revealed how Justine Greening’s former agent and current Tory Councillor Robert Morritt has become mired in a missing money mystery, but the questions don’t stop there. While selecting council candidates in 2009, Wandsworth Conservatives recognised the need to boost their communications capabilities and decided to splash out on some conference call equipment.[…]