Worth ten minutes of your day…
Worth ten minutes of your day…
This rent-swapping malarkey is bringing out some statements that remind you just how out of touch Members of Parliament can be. Some MPs might be admitting their guilt but expenses-hungry LibDem Don Foster is playing dumb. The sanctimonious self-serving communities minister even talks about himself in the third person:
“I genuinely don’t quite know what the story is. I used to live in a property that I owned in Westminster, and I was able under the previous rules to claim the interest on the mortgage. When IPSA changed the rules I was no longer able to do that so I had to move into rented property, and I could have sold the flat or rented it out. It is mine, I paid for it, and I chose at the bottom of the market to rent it, and that is what I currently do. I may one day sell it, or may carry on renting it out. It is an absolute disgrace that we have a system that says Don Foster can’t live in a property he owns, and claim about £400 per month less than he currently claims. They changed the rule to make it look supposedly better, but it has cost the taxpayer hundreds of pounds more per MP than it needed to have done just to look good, and I have absolutely no idea what it is I am doing wrong.”
The old flat might belong to Don, however he didn’t pay for it, taxpayers paid for it for years. The new system expects MPs to pay their own mortgage on properties they own. What Don is doing wrong is “contriving a tenancy” to maximise his expenses. As the property is yours Don, as you so proudly state, then why not live in it and pay to do so out of your salary? Why should the taxpayer pay for you to rent when you have you own property already? Foster refused to respond to Guido over the weekend.
Foster is despised by many is his student-packed constituency of Bath as a result of his refusal to address the university following the tuition fees u-turn. Other prospective LibDem candidates have already been sniffing around in anticipation that Foster may stand down at the next election. The fact that he is a shamed rent-swapper may hasten his demise…
Disgraced rent-swapping Labour MP Linda Riordan has told her the Halifax Courier she will sell her London flat and pay back the capital gains or profit to the taxpayer. Last week it was revealed that hard left Riordan skimmed £1,000-a-month profit by renting out her mortgaged London home while claiming rent for another nearby house on expenses.
“I have decided to place the flat on the market this week, and after speaking to Iain Mckenzie this weekend (the person renting the flat) he has agreed to move out as soon as is practically possible. I have always abided by the rules. Furthermore, I have agreed to pay IPSA back any capital gains. I will, on the assumption that my flat sells, pay any profit to the taxpayer. Of course I cannot speak for other MPs or ex-MPs who are or may continue to make profits.”
Housing benefit fraudsters go to jail when they are caught out, MPs can just promise not to do it again. Shameless Linda Riordan didn’t even say sorry. She only has a majority of around 1,000 – the people of Halifax know what to do in 2015…
When Guido was doing his own digging into rent-swappers last week one potential name that cropped up was that of Labour MP Meg Munn. Sheffield Heeley’s finest is a well-known trougher, employing both her husband as her researcher and her sister-in-law as an assistant in her constituency. When Guido asked Meg if she was a rent-swapper on Thursday she denied it outright:
It seems Munn is suffering from a convenient case of amnesia. It turns out she did use a rent-swapping arrangement up until April of this year, with the Register of Members’ Interests revealing her little trick ended just six months ago. She claimed for over £16,000 in rent-swapping expenses over the last financial year alone. Now Munn is quickly rowing back, suddenly recalling – that’s right – that the rules are to blame:
“When in London I now live in a rented flat. I would have preferred to continue to live in the flat I owned, but IPSA’s rules do not allow this.”
Funny how she forgot to mention all this when Guido first came calling…
Our sources suggest that this was after a blazing row on Friday with Lord Feldman, though others are pouring water on that suggestion.
Tensions clearly high though.
Both Dave and Nick promised before the election they would change the law to let us recall corrupt MPs. After the election they agreed it was a priority and put it in the Coalition Agreement:
We will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall, allowing voters to force a by-election where an MP is found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing and having had a petition calling for a by-election signed by 10% of his or her constituents.
Imagine Guido’s shock when pretty much the only piece of legislation proposed by this government that would improve accountability was kicked into the long grass:
“The Government remains committed to establishing a recall mechanism which is transparent, robust and fair. However, we set out in the White Paper that we would consider the results of this process with great care. In order to fulfil that pledge, and to give due consideration to the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations, the Government wishes to take the proper time to reflect on this policy and determine its future direction. That way we can be sure of introducing the most appropriate mechanism for our constitutional framework.”
In other words, never…
And here is who is running in the contested elections:
Elections will take place on WEDNESDAY 24TH OCTOBER IN COMMITTEE ROOM 14 between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (2-vacancies)
Nominations: Caroline Dinenage, Jonathan Djanogly, Richard Fuller, Anne Marie Morris,Robin Walker
and Mike Weatherley
Culture Media and Sport Committee (3-vacancies)
Nominations: Andrew Bingham, Angie Bray, Conor Burns, Alun Cairns, Tracey Crouch, Jason McCartney,
David Morris, Caroline Nokes, Mike Weatherley
Defence Committee (1-vacancy)
Nominations: Crispin Blunt, James Gray, Adam Holloway
Energy and Climate Change Committee (1-vacancy)
Nominations: Peter Lilley, David Morris
Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee (1-vacancy)
Nominations: Simon Hart, Sheryll Murray, Mark Spencer
International Development Committee (2-vacancies)
Nominations: Fiona Bruce, Matthew Offord, Mark Pritchard
Procedure Committee (one vacancy)
Nominations: Jonathan Lord, Martin Vickers
Transport Committee (2-vacancies)
Nominations: Gareth Johnson, Karen Lumley, Karl McCartney
Treasury Select Committee (1-vacancy)
Nominations: Steve Baker, Brooks Newmark, Dominic Raab
Ministers should not participate but PPSs can.
Graham Brady MP
This is just out from Graham Brady’s office to Tory MPs:
For the following committees I have received the same number of nominations as there are vacancies, the following are therefore elected:
COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Bob Neill, Rahman Chishti
Guto Bebb, Justin Tomlinson
WORK AND PENSIONS
Aidan Burley, Nigel Mills, Anne-Marie Morris, Jane Ellison, Graham Evans
You’re either in front of Guido…
Tory MP Rob Wilson has written to new New York Times boss and former BBC director general Mark Thompson demanding that he fly back to Britain to answer questions in front of the Pollard Inquiry and the CMS select committee.
Could another Piers-style video link be in the offing?
However bad your Monday morning might be going, at least you aren’t as hard-up as poor old Andy Burnham. Over the weekend he published his heart-wrenching sob story excuse for why he has been outed as a shamed rent-swapper. It almost brought a tear to Guido’s eye:
“After the 2010 Election, IPSA changed the rules to stop MPs claiming for mortgage interest. I wanted to stay at my flat but I could no longer afford to do so and was forced to leave by August 2012. In June this year, I moved to an unfurnished, rented flat in Kennington. I now claim accommodation expenses on this new property alone. I make no claim in respect of the old flat. However, all this has left me in the unusual situation of having a flat in London on which I have a mortgage to pay but where I am unable to live. I don’t want to sell it so have had to rent it out. The rent I receive covers the mortgage, the agents’ management fee and on-going maintenance costs. IPSA is right to prevent MPs making capital gains on properties with the help of the taxpayer. I support rules to stop this. However, I believe they could have been introduced without asking MPs to move to more expensive rented accommodation. If the rules changed again to reflect this, I would move back to my old flat at the earliest opportunity.”
It wasn’t Andy’s fault he had to send the taxpayer the bill, it was the rules of course! He “couldn’t afford” to pay his own way despite earning three times the average wage as an MP. He was “forced to leave” his home and live in an “unfurnished flat” with the plebs in Kennington. Don’t believe the spin, Burnham’s snout is so far in the trough he is fast looking like one of the most piggy MPs. Poor Burnham is financing his buy-to-let scheme and building up a little nest egg courtesy of the taxpayer. He is the highest-profile rent-swapper yet…
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Dan Hodges on Labour unity…
“We’ve heard a lot over the past few years about how Miliband has united Labour. But he has not united Labour. He has pacified Labour. He has placed it into a medically induced coma following the trauma of the party’s 2010 defeat.”