Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Harman’s Response to Cameron’s Plan is Pathetic

After Dave wowed even Brown nosers like Sir Michael White and Steve Richards with his crackdown on Tory grandees and shadow cabinet troughers, Harman wrote to the chairman of the Member’s Allowance Committee proposing that he should set out a procedure whereby MPs might perhaps be asked nicely to repay claims that were outside the rules. Possibly. Not exactly a decisive response from the government.

The Member’s Allowance Committee is chaired by the Labour MP Don Touhig.  It was he who  led the Labour backbench revolt last July that threw out proposals for a full external audit of MPs’ expenses and an end to the “John Lewis list”. Does that fill you full of confidence?

Green BookHarman’s proposal is that if an MP has broken the rules they will have to repay the money.   Guido’s view is that only the minimum expenses wholly necessary for the  job should be allowable, however the cry of every single troughing MP from every single party is that “it was all within the rules”So no one will have to pay anything back under Harman’s plan.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

+++ Blears “I’m Sending a Cheque for £13,332″ +++

She says even though she is not liable, but because people are angry, she is going to pay an amount equivalent to the £13,332 capital gains tax she dodged.  Her own decision she says (but she did speak to Gordon).

“I’m the MP for Salford” – though she did stay in the groovy Clerkenwell Zetter hotel for weeks at our expense…

Foulkes Doesn’t Like It Up Him

  • House of Lords: claimed £54,441 in allowances for 94 days attendance (£579/day)
  • Earns £36,000 as a Parliamentary Consultant to Eversheds LLP for 36 days work (£1000/day)
  • Claimed £3061.17 in allowances from the Scottish Parliament between April 2008 and March 2009
  • Salary for a Member of the Scottish Parliament £56,671.

A grand total of £150,173.17. Foulkes is an old school multi-trougher…

Dave Orders Shadow Cabinet Pay-Back

Guido has just got back from a hastily* called Tory press conference, where we were told by Dave that he has ordered:

rsz_pay-it-back… Michael Gove will pay back the £7,000 claimed for furniture.  Oliver Letwin will pay back the £2,000 for the pipe under his tennis court.  Andrew Lansley will pay back the £2,600 for home improvements. Alan Duncan will pay back nearly £5,000 for gardening expenses. Francis Maude will no longer claim any money for his second home in London. And neither will Chris Grayling. Theresa Villiers – the only London MP in the shadow cabinet – will follow suit later this year. I’ve also dealt with some of the smaller, but nevertheless significant, claims that have caused concern, whether that is Ken Clarke’s council tax bill in Nottinghamshire or David Willetts’s electrical bill. George Osborne will pay back the cost of a particularly expensive car journey. And I will pay back the only maintenance bill I have claimed in eight years as a Member of Parliament.

Is this enough? Burglars don’t get off by giving back the telly.  Guido wants to see the small print, are they really going to be allowed to keep ill gotten gains because they were in the past?

*So hasty that Guido came late, straight from the pub dressed in traditional national dress – an Ireland rugby shirt. Guido naturally sat down right in front of Sir Michael White.

Orange Bookers Launch Website

liberal_vision_logoAs we await the forthcoming LibDem expenses – notice how silent their backbenchers have gone – the Orange Bookers have got their act together with a new website.

They say their first major project will be to press for a strict internal party code of conduct on the claiming of expenses by any Liberal Democrat member in either House of Parliament or any elected authority. They will be calling for the LibDem whip should be withdrawn from those who fail to abide by this code.

The grassroots of all parties now have genuine independent sites which do not care for their representatives misbehaving.  This is a good thing.

Headed by former LibDem media chief Mark Littlewood, he says “the blog will be blunt, iconoclastic, and fearless in our promotion of freedom. We aim to inject some life into the Lib Dem blogosphere and won’t be taking any prisoners. The party has the chance to advocate a popular and truly liberal agenda. To fail to do so would be an abdication of political responsibility.”

During the Liberal Democrat conference last year, Liberal Vision hit the headlines when Mark got wacked by an outraged LibDem MP after predicting in a publication that Liberal Conservativism would be electorally catastrophic for the party.  Expect more fireworks…

+++ Margaret Moran Paying Back £22,500 Dry Rot +++

Margaret Moran, Labour MP for Luton South, has announced she will pay back £22,500 claimed to treat dry rot in the house in Southampton (100 miles from her Luton constituency) that she shares with her partner as a result of “constituents’ anger at the current fees regime” Constitutents anger with her more like.

“Sorry” Isn’t Good Enough

pay-it-back

Serfs cleared moats in feudal times, Douglas Hogg submitted a receipt to the fees office listing the £2,000 cost of clearing his moat, Sir Michael Spicer, claimed £5,650 in nine months for his gardening and hundreds of pounds for hanging a chandelier in his main manor house.

David Heathcoat-Amory makes us pay for his shit, literally, with £380 claimed for horse manure for his garden.

David Davis, who made his name as a hawkish fiscal disciplinarian on the Public Accounts Select Committee, disappointingly spent more than £10,000 of taxpayers’ money on doing up the house and buying soft furnishings.

Michael Ancram, (the Marquess of Lothian), claims tens of thousands for the upkeep of his £8 million of properties.

Sir Alan Haselhurst, the Deputy Speaker, claimed £142,119 for the upkeep of his country home, despite having no mortgage to pay.

James Arbuthnot and Stewart Jackson have the good sense to have promised last night to repay their pool cleaning claims.  Notice this is only for a few hundred pounds, not exactly a great hardship.

green-book-signature

Sorry won’t be enough.  They should all pay back the money they have claimed for feather-bedding their nests.  Members are responsible for the probity and propriety of claims submitted. This bluster about it all being approved by the Fees Office, therefore it is not down to the individual MP, is spin and an abdication of responsibility by those culpable.  The rules are very clear, in signing for allowances, “the MP’s signature verifies that the expenditure was wholly, exclusively and necessarily  incurred in the performance of their duties”.

Swimming pools, roses and chandeliers are not necessary for the performance of an MP’s duties.  We want our money back, sorry won’t be good enough.  No matter how grand, no matter what the excuse, no matter which party.  If they won’t give it back, we want them sacked.

Tebbit : Don’t Vote Tory

TebbitTebbit has chosen his words carefully, he says don’t vote for the major expense fiddling parties, don’t vote BNP, vote for the other minority protest parties. By that it is taken he means “Vote UKIP”.  He could equally as well also mean Jury Team or Libertas.  This could be an interesting euro-election…

Monday, May 11, 2009

+++ Hogg Claimed for Moat Dredging +++

moat_telegraphIt is looting of the taxpayer.  There is no other word for it.  They are looters.

Self Censorship at The Times

This is deliciously amusing.  Guido’s Wapping co-conspirator is laughing and asking

Why has a regular Times T2 columnist had a piece called ‘How Not To Spend It’, which was due to be published today, pulled by The Times. The reason? Might be sensitive, given MPs spending habits. The columnist?

Could it be that the columnist is Sarah Vine?  Also known as Mrs Gove…


Seen Elsewhere

Comply or Die at Grauniad | MediaGuido
Labour Beats UKIP in South Yorkshire | LabourList
Mock the Week’s Weak Comedy | Nigel Farage
Can Jim Murphy Save Scottish Labour? | Guardian
There is Still Appetite for the Westminster Lunch | Jon Craig
Labour Turn Their Backs on Jewish Community | Dan Hodges
Chivalry is Not Dead | Laura Perrins
Jonathan Jones is a Tw*t | Iain Dale
Second Scotland Poll Suggests Labour Wipeout | Times
Paedo Probe Boss Urged to Quit | Sun
Keynesian Tories Won’t Eliminate Deficit | Tim Montgomerie


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