When Margaret Hodge went off on one about the ‘Big 4’ professional services firms this morning, she awkwardly forgot that half the shadow cabinet have employed staffers from PricewaterhouseCoopers during the last year. Could there be anything else languishing deep down in Hodge’s memory that she needs reminding of? Something that happened before she became an MP, perhaps? Maybe to do with a past career choice?
Between 1992 and 1994 Hodge worked as a senior consultant for, you guessed it, PriceWaterhouse, as they were known before the 1998 merger with Coopers & Lybrand. Guido would ask what her duties were, but she’d probably just dodge the question…
The Liberal Democrats are claiming that their vicious briefing against their coalition partners was sent out “in error”. Apparently it was an update to an old briefing. Guido is calling bullsh*t. Firstly the briefing was deliberately sent from a party branded account, separately from a coalition friendly briefing moments before. When the LibDems slag off the Tories they do it with the bird logo. When they are behaving they do it, rather splendidly, with a blue version of their logo:
Secondly it went out on their website. Hardly a case of bad trigger finger. They have quietly deleted it online now, but have not corrected their original email. They tell Guido “we may feel the need to issue a print retraction” in due course, but for the time being they are only telling anyone who asks. When it was put it to the masters of spin that their explanation did not “have the ring of truth to it” they promptly and swiftly cleared the whole matter up: “well… [PAUSE] that’s what we are saying.” Not just Balls that is having a bad day…
Luckily Brian Leveson is off to Oz so he can clamp down on this blagging of private information…
Clegg was shaking his head during the mansion tax discussion in the House and he’s clearly still smarting. LibDem HQ have just sent out a stinging briefing against their coalition buddies:
Conservatives tax cuts for the richest
The only tax cuts the Conservatives support are ones for the very rich. At the General Election, their priority was to cut inheritance tax for millionaires. In the Coalition, Liberal Democrats have blocked these plans and instead we are cutting taxes for millions.
A full house of criticism for Ed Balls dire response to the Autumn Statement. He fluffed his first line and it was all downhill from there…
He had an open goal, all he had to do was keep it simple…
Question-dodging Margaret Hodge had some nerve asking the PM about tax avoidance today, and when she got her phone out to tweet afterwards the irony knew no bounds:
Never mind the fact that she still hasn’t answered Guido’s repeated questions about her own tax arrangements. Come on Margaret, what was that about failing to answer questions?
Comments in the comments please…
Paragon of tax virtue Margaret Hodge is still dodging Guido’s questions over her own Stemcor arrangements, but that didn’t stop her from popping up on the Today programme this morning to call on the government to stop using professional services firms:
“I think using the power of the public purse to purchase contracts is an important power that we have and the big 4 are getting more and more government business as this government chooses to outsource a lot of back office activities so there is a lot of financial payroll.
“For as many years as Britain has had a centralised civil service we have been rather good at collecting information.
With previous employees having had to go above and beyond the call of duty, you would have thought Andy Slaughter would be able to stump up some cash to pay his interns. Indeed the Labour MP was all for the idea back in 2010, putting his name to an EDM calling for the House to “recognise that in practice many Parliamentary internships qualify for the national minimum wage and further urges IPSA to create an interns fund to pay them fairly”.[…]