Monday, September 1, 2014

Chuka Takes Donation From Tax Avoidance Firm

Chuka Umunna has received a £2,500 donation from a firm which advises its clients on how to swerve HMRC rules to help them avoid tax. Signature Tax paid the sum two weeks ago, with the money “received through the Labour Party to support the office of Chuka Umunna”.

According to their website, Signature Tax specialise in “non-DOTAS tax schemes”, structures designed to avoid HMRC’s Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes regulations, which require those using tax avoidance schemes to inform the taxman. Accountancy Age explains how non-DOTAS schemes offered by Chuka’s donor bend the rules:

“Some of the (tax avoidance) promoters who used DOTAS numbers as tacit approval from HMRC initially, are now promoting schemes outside the DOTAS system. Some promoters are looking hard at their product lines and designing versions that escape the rules. Those rules have become so prescriptive, advisers say, that the longer they become, the easier they are to find holes in. For example, class action group Rebus claims to know of at least two promoters looking for non-DOTAS versions of old products.”

Signature Tax’s website also offers advice on “off shore” tax arrangements. Chuka has been a staunch opponent of such schemes, famously grilling former Barclay’s boss Bob Diamond over his bank’s offshore subsidiaries and urging him to close them down.

And who can forget when he called “on the chancellor to close in on tax avoidance, close in on tax loopholes and deliver greater tax justice.” Adding that: “It is time to close in on tax avoiders, recoup public money and ensure everyone in society pays their fair share.”

In light of this new information about his donor, will Chuka give the money back to avoid any allegations of massive hypocrisy?

LibDems Select Hancock Cover Up Ally to Fight His Seat

Nick Clegg said that the LibDems had had a long hard look in the mirror after the recent sex scandals that have plagued the party. But has anything really changed?

They’ve welcomed back handsy Lord Rennard into the party fold after he apologised for ‘inadvertently’ ‘invading the personal space’ (knickers) of female activists and party aides. Now a row is brewing over their candidate selected in Portsmouth South, the seat vacated by pervy MP Mike Hancock who apologised and settled out of court after admitting inappropriate behaviour towards a mentally ill constituent. Portsmouth Council fought tooth and nail to protect Hancock: initially dismissing the allegations and refusing to properly investigate. Hancock’s oddball ally Gerald Vernon Jackson was the council leader at the time – and will now fight to keep his seat yellow. It’s a gift to UKIP, who made huge gains on the council in May. Another target seat for Farage…

Will the Last Tory MP Standing Down Turn Out the Lights?

Tony “Baldrick” Baldry, Tory MP for Banbury since 1983 and parliament’s most senior Freemason, has announced he is off:

“After careful thought over summer recess & discussions with my family, I have decided to stand down at the next General Election. It is an enormous privilege to represent the people of N.Oxon. I’m grateful for the friendship & support from constituents over so many years.”

Baldry has an 18,000 majority so it will be hard to spin it as a conspiracy, unlike with last night’s resignation of 2010 intake right-winger Chris Kelly, whose 3,800 majority was under threat in the UKIP target seat of Dudley South. Kelly says he’s not joining UKIP but wishes Carswell the best…

Presumably standing down to spend more time with Nadine Dorries’ daughter.

Gallery Guido: Bercow Sticking to His Line

The Speaker’s position is deteriorating fast. Reports say he is sticking to his line that the recruitment process was fair, modern and followed best practice. “Previously, the outgoing Clerks handed in a piece of paper with three names on it,” as he says. Leave aside the fact that his process has created an unprecedented shambles. He now has to avoid lying to the House.

For either Saxton Bampfylde are the most incompetent head hunters in the history of head hunting or John Bercow refused to pass on their warnings about Ms Mills’ comic lack of suitability.

For, what was Ms Mills doing on the long list at all? Saxton Bampfylde, charged with finding a new Commons Clerk presents a facilities manager presiding over “the worst-run department in the Commonwealth” according to one Australian Senator, a manager with no procedural knowledge, and with two separate Inquiries against her. “Just the ticket!” they think, and put her up for consideration. Really? When are they going to spill the beans?

The Commons Commission is FoI-able. Whether the oddly-established Panel of Selection is – that’s a moot point. It needs a clerk to rule on that one. But what did Saxton Bampfylde tell them? Their reputation is at risk. The truth will out – and sooner rather than later.

Kick off at 2.30. Guido will be posting as report shortly after the Speaker sits down. Points of Order will be around 5pm.

GuyNews: The Ashya King Story

Here the father explains the arrogance of the NHS doctors who caused the parents of Ashya to be arrested. The child is now alone in a Spanish hospital. Ashya was at no extra risk with his parents who had all the necessary medical equipment and were caring for him. From what the father says the NHS doctors were unsure of how to proceed with treatment. Any parent will do whatever is necessary for their sick child…

ashya-parents-spanish-police

Ashya’s granny didn’t hold back on the Today programme:

The Spanish authorities should allow these loving parents to see their child immediately…

UPDATE: South East UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson is calling for the immediate release of her constituents Brett and Naghemeh King and asking the Home Secretary to question use of European Arrest Warrant. “I call on the Home Secretary to contact the Spanish authorities so that Ashya’s parents are released immediately… Then I would ask her whether she now thinks that pernicious European Arrest Warrant works in the hands of over-zealous policemen in the interests of British citizens?” Quite.

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Read Guido’s Column in the Sun on Sunday Online

sun-gf-twitter-WIFE-SWAPPER

Guido is back from the beach with today’s Sun column. Pick up your copy of the Sun on Sunday to read all about:

  • The wife-swapping past of Labour’s candidate in the Clacton by-election and his conviction for hitting a copper
  • MPs tell pollsters they read high minded heavyweight political books on holiday. Guido thinks that is fiction

sun-gf-COMRES-BOOKS

  • Farage and Carswell’s secret
  • Bet is Bercow is out unless he humiliatingly backs down.
  • Labour’s Lindsay Hoyle is the deputy speaker who is favourite to succeedBercow. He claims he worries about foodbanks whilst he builds himself an orangery and an indoor pool.

sun-gf-twitter-DEP-SPEAKER

Join Sun+ on a free one month trial and read Guido’s column online here

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday Seven Up

Friday, August 29, 2014

Smears at the Heart of Downing Street

Gallery Guido: The Questions Bercow Must Answer on Monday

The Speaker will stand up at 2.30 on Monday and make an announcement on the new Clerk. Because it could be the end of John Bercow’s Commons career he will make the speech of his life.

It will be a parliamentary masterpiece of apology, mild defiance, injured dignity and ostentatious consensus-seeking.

Players of Oratorical Bingo should look out for:

The timetable was dictated by the outgoing Clerk’s resignation. Process better than we had before. Advertised. Open competition. So necessary to meet the extraordinary challenges we face. All worked hard, interviewed many candidates, acted in good faith as servants of the House. I am the servant of the House. I am referring the matter back to the House in the form of the House of Commons Commission. They will report their recommendations back to the House.

Then, expect:

MP: Point of order!

Speaker: “First there are questions, then a statement by the Prime Minister. Points of order always come after the statement.” (He will want the Prime Minister first to paint a picture of global collapse, jihad, party defection, Euro-turmoil in order to make procedural points seem petty.)

MP: “But it IS after the statement. You’ve just made a statement!”

Speaker confers with Interim Clerk Natzler. Then, sensationally, “It was an announcement, not a statement.”

If MPs lose this argument, Points of Order may begin around 4.30 or 5pm, if the Speaker can drag proceedings out.

The Speaker will answer each point, some at filibustering length, some with the holding answer: “This is a matter for the House of Commons Commission. Let them do their work and report to the House.”

There are many questions outstanding. Here are some of the most important, as raised by Guido over the summer…

(more…)


Seen Elsewhere

Elitist Politicians Caused Democratic Disenchantment | Janet Daley
Police Can’t Stop Man Who Stalked Me for 7 Years | Nadine Dorries
Owen Jones’ Middle Class Moralism | Spiked
Carswell’s Caravan Campaigning | BBC
Watch Last Four Presidents Announce US Bombing Iraq | Reason
Farage Won’t Come to McDonald’s With Me | Douglas Carswell
Ed and Gordon May Have Killed the Union | Dan Hodges
How the Young Restored No’s Lead | Speccie
Top Businessman: Free Scotland Will Prosper | Guardian
Why Did Cameron Concede So Much to Scotland? | Jill Kirby
Snouts Still in the Trough | Mail


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Martin Wolf in the Financial Times

“Scotland can adopt the pound without a currency union..”



McCameron, McClegg, McMiliband says:

Why did the Englishman cross the road?

To grovel at the feet of the jocks.


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