May We Have a Short £200,000 Recess, Your Honour?

You’ve got to hand it to Geoffrey Cox QC MP. The Tory member for Torridge and West Devon has almost quadrupled his yearly wage as an MP by moonlighting as a Queen’s Counsel.

In the last month Cox declared earnings of over £200,000 through his work as a barrister. His clients include none other than the Government of Mauritius and Greek mythology-quoting tax experts Aegis, from whom he has just trousered a six-figure sum for a few days’ work. The good news is that Cox’s £4,000-a-day rate means that he still has plenty of time left over to look after his constituents. No further questions…

Full Leaked Tory Memo on UKIP Threat

As Guido wrote at the weekend:

Officially, the Conservative leadership pretends eurosceptic UKIP are not a threat; privately, their troops do not agree. Charles Tannock, a senior Tory Member of the European Parliament, has issued a panicked briefing to colleagues stating: “UKIP poses a direct threat to Conservative re-election prospects…UKIP polling at even 8% could be critical in splitting our vote and, paradoxically, help achieve the result of a small majority Labour government, or Labour-LibDem coalition – which is more pro-EU!”

And here is the whole memo:

Nope, no threat there…

Quote of the Day

Matthew Hancock tells Education Questions:

“Well I am in favour of sandwiches.”

Cooper’s Cash from Shamed ‘Expenses Queen’

You might have thought that any self-respecting ambitious shadow cabinet minister and future party leadership contender would want to keep a safe distance from the sleazy world of expenses cheats. Not Yvette Cooper.

The shadow home secretary trousered a donation of nearly £5,000 from shamed ex-Labour MP and so-called ‘Expenses Queen’ Barbara Follett this month. Follett lost her job at the last election after she was exposed as one of the worst expenses troughers of all, amongst other things claiming £500 to clean a Chinese rug. Her novelist husband Ken bankrolled Ed Balls’ leadership campaign, and overall the Folletts have donated almost £60,000 to the Balls-Coopers this Parliament. Last time round public pressure decided that Barbara Follett had no role to play in public life. Ed and Yvette clearly disagree…

Sir Jeremy Wormtongue and Other Tales

Guido’s favourite bit of this week’s Daily Star Sunday column was giving Sir Jeremy Heywood’s whispered nickname a wider audience:

“DISQUIET about Downing Street’s shambolic grip on the Government machine has given way to open speculation about the No.10 team. Whispers are growing about the amount of power seized by slippery senior civil servant Sir Jeremy Heywood. With him having the PM’s ear, insiders have nicknamed the pasty-skinned Sir Jeremy “Wormtongue”, after the sinister character in The Lord Of The Rings who whispered poison to the king to further his own agenda.”

Don’t miss Marr, Bryant and Balls in the rest of the column, now online here.

As You Were: Mitchell Says He Was Being an Ironic Sexist Pig

Channelling Michael Winner when being accused of sexism? It’s as if Austin Mitchell was trying to make it worse

The other A Mitchell should have used the I was only joking line…

UPDATE: Labour say:

“Austin Mitchell has made clear the tweet was a joke not a serious comment. It is not funny, understandable people find it offensive, and it is not the view of the Labour Party.”

Yeo’s £40,000 From Bust Black Cab Firm Beneficiaries

Regular readers will remember how back in September Tim Yeo quit his lucrative job as chairman of Eco City Vehicles following Guido’s conflict of interest revelations over the summer. There’s nothing like an early resignation to head off increasing scrutiny.

The latest Register of Members’ Interests shows that Yeo pocketed £40,000 for 91 hours work at Eco City over the last year, a generous £440-an-hour. Unlike in previous years, strangely Yeo omitted to declare earnings from Eco City month by month, only to reveal them in bulk when Number 10 came calling. On top of the Eco City cash, Yeo trousered another £15,000 from his green interests in the last month alone. And still he remains as chair of the Energy and Climate Change select committee…

Coincidently Eco City, who make green taxis, will benefit hugely from black cab firm Manganese Bronze going into administration. Stay tuned…

Cameron’s €uro-Frankenstorm
Labour and Tories Throw Halloween Budget Grenade

The call in the Times this morning from Douglas Alexander and Ed Balls for a “real-terms cut” in the EU budget would have been uncomfortable enough for the PM, who is proposing an by-inflation rise, if it were not for a coordinated sting from his own party. Leaving aside the irony of Labour  jumping on this bandwagon after a decade and a half of surrendering the rebate and rubber stamping vast increases in the EU budget, a perfect storm is brewing for the PM.

When the tediously titled “EU budget simplification and the multi annual financial framework motion” reaches the Commons on Wednesday, both Mark Reckless and Mark Pritchard, the doyens of the new Tory awkward squad, are throwing very large spanners in the works. Pritchard’s amendment will call for no rise at all, while Reckless will argue for a cut. A purple plot is forming with Labour going through the lobby with the Tory rebels. A source close to the fun and games on the Tory side coughed this morning that the storm is “not entirely uncoordinated.”

UPDATE: Reckless has written at length on the plan:

“I and other Conservative colleagues are supporting an amendment to say that there must be at least some constraint on EU spending. Although many of us would wish to see a substantial reduction in EU spending, at least in line with cuts at home, today we are only asking the government to strengthen its stance so that there is some real terms reduction in the EU budget.”

Which is pretty much what Labour said this morning…

Austin Mitchell’s Views on Marriage

What is it with MPs called A Mitchell and […]

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Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

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REMAIN TAKES PROJECT FEAR TO CHURCH REMAIN TAKES PROJECT FEAR TO CHURCH
SOUBRY’S BIG NISSAN-DERSTANDING SOUBRY’S BIG NISSAN-DERSTANDING
JIM SHANNON ORDERED TO REPAY £14,000 EXPENSES JIM SHANNON ORDERED TO REPAY £14,000 EXPENSES
PAY “ONLY REAL RED LINE” FOR BMA JUNIOR DOCTOR LEADERSHIP PAY “ONLY REAL RED LINE” FOR BMA JUNIOR DOCTOR LEADERSHIP
NET MIGRATION UP 20,000 TO 333,000 NET MIGRATION UP 20,000 TO 333,000
POLICE INVESTIGATING TESSA MUNT ELECTION EXPENSES POLICE INVESTIGATING TESSA MUNT ELECTION EXPENSES
LEAVE.EU ON HOOK FOR £500,000 BREXIT GIG LEAVE.EU ON HOOK FOR £500,000 BREXIT GIG
TRUMP SINGS “WE’RE GONNA BUILD A WALL” TRUMP SINGS “WE’RE GONNA BUILD A WALL”
OZBOT VERSUS ANDROGENOID OZBOT VERSUS ANDROGENOID
EDDIE IZZARD’S HOTEL BILLS NOT LAWFULLY DECLARED EDDIE IZZARD’S HOTEL BILLS NOT LAWFULLY DECLARED
POLITICAL PARTY RICHLIST POLITICAL PARTY RICHLIST
EU PLOTS TAX ID NUMBERS FOR EVERY EUROPEAN CITIZEN EU PLOTS TAX ID NUMBERS FOR EVERY EUROPEAN CITIZEN
MUNT ADMITS SHE DIDN’T DECLARE LOCAL CAMPAIGN TRANSPORT MUNT ADMITS SHE DIDN’T DECLARE LOCAL CAMPAIGN TRANSPORT
OZBOT VERSUS ANDROGENOID OZBOT VERSUS ANDROGENOID
“Fat Cats For EU” “Fat Cats For EU”
“CHEATED” LIBDEM PICTURED CAMPAIGNING ON BATTLE BUS “CHEATED” LIBDEM PICTURED CAMPAIGNING ON BATTLE BUS
CHRISTINE HAMILTON HIRED ON THE PUBLIC PAYROLL CHRISTINE HAMILTON HIRED ON THE PUBLIC PAYROLL
CONSERVATIVES IN: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE CONSERVATIVES IN: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
HULL UNIVERSITY THIRD TO DISAFFILIATE FROM NUS HULL UNIVERSITY THIRD TO DISAFFILIATE FROM NUS
CAMERON’S AIRFARE FABLE CAMERON’S AIRFARE FABLE
TELEGRAPH BLOODBATH: NEW JOBS CULL UNDERWAY TELEGRAPH BLOODBATH: NEW JOBS CULL UNDERWAY
CCHQ FREEZE MPS AND ASSOCIATIONS OUT OF VOTE SOURCE CCHQ FREEZE MPS AND ASSOCIATIONS OUT OF VOTE SOURCE
OSBORNE MISSED BORROWING TARGET BY EVEN MORE THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT OSBORNE MISSED BORROWING TARGET BY EVEN MORE THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT
POLICE INVESTIGATING SHADOW MINISTER OVER ELECTION EXPENSES POLICE INVESTIGATING SHADOW MINISTER OVER ELECTION EXPENSES
TOOTING BY-ELECTION CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF IN BATTERSEA TOOTING BY-ELECTION CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF IN BATTERSEA
ELECTORAL COMMISSION ON JOCK-‘COPTER CAMPAIGN ELECTORAL COMMISSION ON JOCK-‘COPTER CAMPAIGN
STURGEON DUCKS CHOPPER QUESTION STURGEON DUCKS CHOPPER QUESTION
NUS CHIEF EXECUTIVE PAID FIVE TIMES AVERAGE GRADUATE NUS CHIEF EXECUTIVE PAID FIVE TIMES AVERAGE GRADUATE
CORBYN CLAPPED COMMIE LEADER FOR REFUSING TO TOAST THE QUEEN CORBYN CLAPPED COMMIE LEADER FOR REFUSING TO TOAST THE QUEEN
SNP CHOPPER NOT DECLARED PROPERLY SNP CHOPPER NOT DECLARED PROPERLY