Sunday, May 30, 2010

Danny Alexander’s SpAd Ordered to Pay Back Expenses

Sunday Sleaze

The former LibDem MP for Dunfermline, Willie Rennie, abused his constituency expenses and has been ordered to pay back £2,647 wrongly claimed from his Incidental Expenses Provision after the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner John Lyon found he had over- claimed for office costs.

Despite this Danny “Beaker” Alexander (pictured) the newly appointed Chief-Secretary to the Treasury, has given Rennie a job as his SpAd after he lost his seat to Labour in the general election.  Willie Rennie was using a scam widespread amongst LibDem MPs, renting his constituency office off his local LibDem constituency party and shifting his campaign costs onto his parliamentary expenses. It is usually difficult to prove, Rennie was unlucky to get caught, it was only that his campaign team made canvassing telephone calls to Labour activists from a phone number paid for out of parliamentary funds that also appeared on his party letterhead that did for him.

Willie Rennie (pictured here after his famous 2006 by-election victory) was according to a report by Campbell Gunn in the Scottish Sunday Post (not online) renting the office space off his party, which meant that Commons expenses cash was going directly into the local LibDem coffers.  Effectively the local LibDem party was his landlord and taxpayers’ money was being used for LibDem campaigning. Not a frugal sign from the right-hand-man of a Chief Secretary charged with cutting public expenditure.

This scam is widespread among LibDem MPs and unofficially it is Cowley Street’s policy to manipulate the Commons expenses regime in this way.  When Guy News reported that Sarah Teather abused the system in the same way she sent lawyer’s letters demanding a retraction and threatening legal action.

Guido refused to back off and still stands by the story…

Saturday, May 29, 2010

+ + + Danny Alexander Appointed Treasury Chief Secretary + + +

UPDATE : Michael Moore is the new Scottish Secretary.

+ + + David Laws Resigns + + +

And Guido will be crying into his beer. Lidl own-brand beer at that…

Saturday Seven Up

7up59,376 visitors viewed 344,448 pages over the last seven days, here are the seven most popular stories (in order of popularity) that you missed:

You’re either in front of Guido, or you are behind…

Who is James Lundie?

Now revealed publicly as David Laws boyfriend, James Lundie is a director at spin-merchants Edelman, he is a former adviser to both Charles Kennedy and Paddy Ashdown when they were respectively leaders of the Liberal Democrats. Laws says that “James and I are intensely private people … We made the decision to keep our relationship private and believed that was our right. Clearly that cannot now remain the case.”

It was widely known in Westminster that David Laws was gay, some years ago he dared a tabloid paper to justify threatening to out him, he didn’t make an issue of his sexuality. Laws should have known better than to rip the taxpayer off for rent paid to his boyfriend, it doesn’t just look bad, it is bad. In the coming tough times on public spending it will not play well that he milked the expenses system. Using the “we wanted our privacy” line doesn’t really wash when it comes to public money.

UPDATE : Punters have raised the probability of Laws being the first Cabinet member to resign from 6% to 15% this morning. Guido thinks he will probably survive because he is too important to the coalition…

UPDATE : The probability of Laws exiting the cabinet has been rising steadily all morning, punters are now giving him a 30% chance of going. Declaration of interest – Guido just put £500 on him surviving.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rejoice! Rejoice! Balls is Officially Nominated

As the convenor of the grassroots internet-based #Balls4Leader campaign it is Guido’s pleasure to inform co-conspirators that Balls has now been officially nominated by 33 MPs.

Onwards to victory comrades…

UPDATE : Could a co-conspirator come up with a suitable logo for the campaign?

Ed Balls Campaign Diary

Told Nicola that it is important to stress that over half the parliamentary party do not want Jaffa Miliband to be Leader. His little brother has almost as many backers, and that little girl Burnham has a small chunk.  Tom Watson has finally came through and I am now just one short of being on the official ballot paper. Getting a bit worried I am going to have ask Gordon for his vote.

Bit of a shock in Thirsk and Malton, the whole of the Labour Party was expecting we would squeeze the LibDem vote. Instead this Great Party of Ours dropped from second to third. Hope no one notices that I was the only leadership candidate to visit the constituency.

The Right Honourable Edward Balls, leader of the Labour Party. Has a nice ring to it. I will have that on my business card soon.

Susie Squire Slips in to Spinning at the DWP for IDS

Guido is particularly pleased to add Susie Squire (pictured here briefing a senior political journalist) to the list of SpAds, bag carriers and wonks going over to government. She joins Philippa Stroud working at the DWP for Iain Duncan-Smith.  Formerly at the Taxpayers’ Alliance she will now be part of the team exorcising / reforming the welfare system.

Additions to the list include Richard Parr who follows Andrew Mitchell to DfID, Poppy Mitchell-Rose who goes with Osborne to the Treasury.  Honor Fishburn, daughter of Dudley Fishburn the former Tory MP for Kensington and Chelsea, goes to Downing Street to do Andy Coulson’s bidding and Cameron’s speech writing team of Ameet Gill and Claire Foges follow him from CCHQ to become the PM’s speech writing team.

There are still a few more names left to be confirmed…

Sly Si and His Left-Wing Cabal

Simon Hughes shouldn’t be underestimated as an operator. He cut his teeth getting rid of more than his fair share of Liberal Democrat leaders, and in cahoots with Vince Cable he is rocking the boat again. Deprived of a Cabinet seat, Sly Si’s near coronation as Deputy LibDem leader is more than a little contrived…

Cable has looked close to tears for the last week and his unexpected resignation as Clegg’s deputy, and now his very public endorsement of Hughes as his replacement, shows just how worried he is about the coalition. This way the beardy-weirdies have a voice.

Perhaps as punishment for refusing to bloody his hands in the Treasury, Cable has been landed with the most cuts to his department. He has had to eat humble pie on television and his reputation as an economic guru is all but shattered. Bound by collective cabinet responsibility he is neutered.

Though Vince may have been exposed as bit of sham and the bookies make him favourite to be the first cabinet minister to resign, don’t think he isn’t going to go down without a fight, and never forget how vicious LibDem infighting can be. So who does he turn to start causing trouble? His old mucker Hughes of course – the whole swap looks like a well executed plan – interestingly his only challenger for the leadership thus far is Tim Farron – who has been a Hughes protege and ally for many years (and was a senior figure in both Simon’s leadership campaigns).

See also Cable’s Positioning

Friday Caption Contest (Wacky Wonk Edition)


Seen Elsewhere

Even Ed’s Friends Call Him ‘Bad Luck Magnet’ | Mail
BBC: It Was Guido Wot Won It | MediaGuido
Nick Robinson’s Britain First Selfie | Metro
Dyson: Leave German Dominated EU, Join EFTA |
How UKIP Won Rochester | Seb Payne
Labour’s Islington Problem | Harry Phibbs
Ed Lost More Than a By-Election | Labour Uncut
Labour the Biggest Losers in Rochester | Speccie
Thornberry a Gift to Farage | Nick Wood
Is Left Finally Turning Against EU? | Dan Hannan
Labour Votes Going Green | Guardian


Find out more about PLMR AD-MS


Ralph Miliband on the English…

“The Englishman is a rabid nationalist. They are perhaps the most nationalist people in the world.”



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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