Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Speccie Awards: The Winners

Guido has been enjoying a very pleasant afternoon at the Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Awards this afternoon. Here are the winners in full:

  • Newcomer of the Year – Andrea Leadsom MP (Con)
  • Backbencher of the Year – Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP (Lab)
  • Campaigner of the Year – Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP (Lab)
  • Inquisitor of the Year – Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP (Lab)
  • Speech of the Year – Charles Walker MP (Con) & Kevan Jones MP (Lab)
  • Resignation of the Year – Rt Hon Lord Hill of Oareford (Con)
  • Apology of the Year – Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP (Lib Dem)
  • Resurrection of the Year – Rt Hon Sir George Young MP (Con)
  • Minister to Watch – Elizabeth Truss MP (Con)
  • Double Act of the Year – Rt Hon Edward Davey MP (Lib Dem) & John Hayes MP (Con)
  • Peer of the Year – Rt Revd Justin Welby
  • Minister of the Year – Rt Hon Theresa May MP (Con)
  • Parliamentarian of the Year – Jesse Norman MP (Con)
  • Politician of the Year – Boris Johnson (Con)

Some worthy winners. Some less so…

Rothschilds Donate £10,000 to Labour

The Rothschilds, offshore banking and a large political donation – all we need are a Russian oligarch and a yacht and it’s 2010 all over again. Yesterday’s Electoral Commission figures reveal that the Labour Party have accepted a £10,000 donation from Rothschild Private Banking, a wealth management service that specialises in discreet “wealth structuring” and “expert guidance on efficient tax and succession planning”. Are they predators or producers?

Its parent company is based, naturally, in Switzerland. Tax avoidance really is a terrible thing, isn’t it Ed?

BBC Transparency Briefing In Full

This afternoon Tory MP Alun Cairns will ask the House “that leave be given to bring in a Bill to require the British Broadcasting Corporation to publish all invoices for amounts in excess of £500 each quarter; to allow unrestricted access to the Corporation’s accounts by the National Audit Office; and for connected purposes”. The Beeb have been busy pre-emptively briefing ahead of the Ten Minute Rule Bill. Here is the briefing document in full:

That’s a no then…

Loony Labour MP’s Echoes of Galloway

The sheer idiocy of some of those who inexplicably manage to find themselves sat in the Commons never ceases to amaze Guido. Step forward Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi, who took to twitter yesterday to air her views on the Israel-Palestine conflict:

Apparently those Iranian made 21-foot long Fajr-5 rockets, which carry 90kg of explosives and can be fired from up to 75 kilometres, have been put together by some amateur in a Gaza back yard. Crazy Qureshi then went on to tweet a link to Stalinist Hamas apologist Seamus Milne’s pathetic piece today about how he wants “a change in the balance of forces on the ground”. Qureshi is the MP for Bolton South East. Gorgeous George would be proud…

PMQs LIVE: Beg, Steal and Borrow Edition

Margaret Hodge’s Multi-Million Pound Stemcor Trusts
Says £1.8 Million Shareholding is “Tiny, Tiny, Tiny”

Margaret Hodge didn’t take too kindly to being accused of tax hypocrisy by Priti Patel yesterday. The litigious Labour MP and ardent anti-tax avoidance campaigner insists she has done nothing wrong with her shareholding arrangements at 0.01% tax rate paying Stemcor. She has succeeded in scaring off the dead tree press from reporting her arrangements. Guido has been crunching the numbers and it seems Priti is on to something…

Hodge claimed in a grilling by Michael Crick earlier this month that “I am a tiny, tiny, tiny shareholder”. Her direct shareholding is 1.26% which, given that Stemcor paid out £4,519,000 in dividends last year, means she received some £56,939. That shareholding alone is worth £1.8 million. Hardly a tiny amount.

What’s more Stemcor confirmed yesterday that this figure “excludes shares held in trust or in her children’s names”. The company share register shows that Hodge holds several million pounds worth of shareholdings in trusts, including for members of her family. As Polly Toynbee helpfully explains, this is a clever way of minimising future inheritance tax liability:

“The big sell is trusts, special ones devised for this company’s clients, guaranteed to protect almost all your wealth from inheritance tax. They are right, it can be done easily. Put all moveables and all cash and investments into a discretionary trust, and it passes to your heirs without tax as soon as you die, not even waiting for probate. It counts as a gift so the beneficiaries need pay no tax either.”

Yesterday Guido challenged Hodge to explain the purpose of placing her Stemcor shareholdings in a trust other than to reduce the future inheritance tax liability of her relatives. She has yet to reply…

BBC Journalist Calls for “Chavs” to be “Euthanised”

Dave Lee, a technology reporter for the BBC, not at all snobbish. Advocating the mass murder of the lower classes…

Stephen Dorrell’s Secret Rent Deal

Former Tory Health Secretary turned troughing piggy Stephen Dorrell should be drafting his resignation this morning after the Telegraph revealed that he sold his old flat to friends, did not declare the controversial deal that netted him £70,000, and then rented it back off of them. All to break the spirit of the new expenses rules.

Dorrell openly admits that he contrived this tenancy to maximise his benefits under IPSA rules, he told the Telegraph

“…I bought it on an interest only mortgage, because that was the rule at the time, and that ended. So I arranged for a third party to buy it. We had an independent assessment of the rent and it is rented at arms length.”

If he was claiming welfare benefits instead of MPs’ benefits he could be prosecuted for fraudulently “contriving a tenancy”…

In an added twist, there is also a huge undeclared conflict of interest in the fact that the friends are involved in care homes – an area being investigated by the Select Committee Dorrell chairs. The only job he should be doing is Stewarding the Chilton Hundreds…


Seen Elsewhere

Dave’s Pro-Free Markets Speech | ASI
Forget the Nimbys, Bring on the Bimbys | ConHome
Emily is No Snob | Islington Tribune
Cam’s Red Line | Sun
Politicians Must Examine Their Extincts | Laura K
Immigration Lies | Nigel Farage
Take That Mr Speaker | Quentin Letts
How Avoidable Scandals Destroy Stupid Politicians | Alex Wickham
UKIP Mosque Confusion | The Week
Let’s Ban the Word Internet | Padraig Reidy
Are the Broadcasters Ready For the Election? | Specccie


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Tony Blair threatens Ed:

“If you had a strong political lead that was combining the politics of aspiration with the politics of compassion, I still think that’s where you could get a substantial majority…  If I ever do an interview on [the state of the Labour Party], it will have to be at length…”



Left on Left says:

The lefties are attacking because the panellist is a millionaire and lives in a London home worth upwards of two million. Someone had best tell them he’s called Ed Miliband.


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