Sith Break the Rules, Sith Change the Rules

The Charity Commission has been foot dragging on reporting any findings from their investigation into the Smith Institute’s multiple breaches of the charity laws.

Ed Miliband, the Cabinet Office minister and frequent attendee of Smith Institute events at 11 Downing Street in the past, now reckons “Charities should be free to participate in appropriate ways in political activities. There are clear benefits to society from allowing charities to do so.”

Guido is in favour of such a change in the law, but the Charity Commission’s Smith Institute investigation should still reach a prompt conclusion. Gordon Brown was the sole beneficiary of a charity which broke the law continuously for five years and acted as a campaign slush fund for him. Nobody is above the law.

The Charity Commission needs to ascertain, in good time, whether or not taxpayers money was diverted to furthering Gordon Brown’s private interests.

Lazy Tory Slackers M.I.A.

Iain is having a go at Peter Ainsworth for going M.I.A. (Missing In Airtime) during the floods, Benedict Brogan said something similar about part-time shadow cabinet members recently, a bemused journo told Guido he couldn’t believe Hague was missing from the last Zimbabwe debate, the M.I.A. list is endless.

CCHQ is nowadays staffed by people who have never won an election and don’t even seem to fight to win the way the usually third placed Cowley Street operators do. CCHQ needs to move to battle-stations rather than the lacking any sense of urgency, business-as-usual default mode.

For every Alan Duncan, Chris Grayling and David Davis there are two Shadow Cabinet slackers. When you remember the mid-90s and compare how New Labour’s leading lights grabbed broadcast airtime like it was oxygen, you have to wonder. Do these people really have the drive to win?

LibDem Auditors Think £2.4m Fraud Money a Liability

When Guido first claimed that the LibDems would have to pay back the stolen £2.4m that was their biggest donation, the blog’s comments were filled with claims from LibDems that it was sensationalist nonsense. Guido stuck to his guns that the LibDems and Sinn Fein were the only two parties in British politics dependent on bank robberies for their funding.

It seems their auditors agree with Guido. They only signed off the latest accounts on the basis that the £2.4m was a contingent liability for the party. The LibDems may not be benefiting from the proceeds of crime for much longer…

Hungover.

Badly.

Benji Blog – the View from the Bunker

Benji Wegg Prosser, has started a blog. Well he started it last month and he seems to have managed to make one post per month. It does have one revelation, the “Blue Peter” memo about Blair “leaving with the crowds wanting more” was not as Guido speculated. The product of Philip Gould, it was all BWP’s own work. Benji says it all came to pass as he predicted in the bunker…

Private Prosecution Fund Update

As of now 145 people on the PledgeBank website have indicated they want to financially support a private prosecution. You can also pledge via Facebook and even text ‘pledge cash4prosecution‘ to 60022 from your mobile phone. Old fashioned email works as well.

If you can help with this project contact Guido ASAP.

BackBoris.Com

Boris has tidied up his campaign website a little. There is no interactivity (as yet) or compelling proposition to return you to the site once you sign up and subscribe for the email. We are told to expect more bells and whistles.

Victoria Borwicks site is actually better, Warwick Lightfoot’s is busier and has podcasts and videos. Andrew Boff’s site asks you to be patient with just a tear dropping. Was he surprised to get through?

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

Which 2 Have Written to the ’22?

Melissa Kite’s Telegraph story claiming that “At least two MPs, and possibly as many as half a dozen, have written to Sir Michael Spicer, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, to call for a vote of no confidence, it can be revealed today” is a little less precise than her much derided prediction of a senior treasury role for David Ruffley in the Tory reshuffle.

Who are the two who want Dave to go?

Surge of Net-Roots Support for a Private Prosecution

Since yesterday pledges of support for a private prosecution have come in thick and fast on the main PledgeBank website and a few via Facebook. You can even text ‘pledge cash4prosecution‘ to 60022 from your mobile phone. One substantial financial pledge via email will hopefully not be the last.

At this preliminary stage the intention is to convene a legal conference before the end of the month and go through the issues and examine the possible approaches including the establishment of a vehicle with a legally qualified advisory committee.

Guido is keenly aware of potential hurdles and risks. Surely the Attorney General will not be able to argue that the public interest is best served by turning a blind eye to what was manifestly an attempt to circumvent the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 Act? How will the public interest be harmed by testing in a court before a jury the legality of the Loans for Lordships scheme?

One example will give you a flavour of the Loans for Lordships scheme – Gulam Noon has publicly stated that he made a £250,000 donation to the Labour party, which he correctly submitted (via Downing Street) on his vetting papers for the House of Lords Appointments Commission. Two days later on October 5, 2005 Lord Levy, Gulam Noon reportedly claims, telephoned him and referred to the £250,000 donation as a “loan” which need not be disclosed on his vetting papers. The Levy-intercepted and revised vetting papers were submitted to the House of Lords Appointments Commission, now without mention of the £250,000 “loan” / donation. When the Commission independently discovered the existence of the “loan” / donation they blocked the peerage – as presumably Lord Levy knew they would – why else would he intervene in the process? What was the Labour party’s chief fundraiser doing intervening in the honours process anyway? Prima facie there is a case to answer. If the CPS won’t bring it, they should at least not attempt to block others from doing so.

UPDATE : The first target of one hundred people making pledges of financial support for a private prosecution has been met in less than 24 hours.

Private Prosecution : Pledge Support

Graphic courtesy of Beau Bo D’Or

Guido has been in discussion with some of m’learned friends after a careful reading of the CPS statement. The CPS has decided on a bar set very high to justify not prosecuting under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 (‘the 1925 Act’).

The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act, 2000 (‘the 2000 Act’) was dealt with far too perfunctorily in the CPS statement. More than one legal authority consulted by Guido thinks that there are avenues open to a private prosecution via the 2000 Act which have the advantage of not requiring the proving of a conspiracy.

The weakest part of the CPS statement is point 30:

In relation to possible breaches of the 2000 Act, we are satisfied that we cannot exclude the possibility that any loans made – all of which were made following receipt by the Labour Party of legal advice – can properly be characterised as commercial.

There are a number of related suspected offences under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 governing the evasion of restrictions on donations which provide a firm and clear basis for action. Crucially, a prosecution on this basis would avoid the difficulties of having to prove a conspiracy. It would also have the advantage that there are statements from donors already in the public domain which, contrary to the stated view of the CPS, exclude the possibility that the loans were made, or intended to be made, on a commercial basis.

The attempt by Levy et al to portray themselves as the victims of an over zealous policeman are contemptible. They deliberately subverted the law in a secret attempt to cover up donations made by persons they later put forward for honours. A fact they deliberately and disingenuously hid from House of Lords Appointment Committee. If you want to see justice done and the law upheld, pledge your support for a private prosecution here.

Rumours of CCHQ Recriminations

Guido is trying to get confirmation of senior Cameroonie quitting / threatening to quit. Wasn’t this scripted for Cowley Street not Millbank?

UPDATED : George Bridges has quit according to unofficial but reliable sources.

Full text of the CPS Decision


Full text PDF here.

Do You Believe there is No Connection Between Cash and Honours?

Tony Blair created 292 peers. Millions were raised from the recipients of those honours.
The correlation between making large donations to the Labour Party and receiving an honour is extraordinary. Statistical analysis shows that 58.54% of all donors giving more than £50,000 to the Labour Party receive an honour. This compares to just 0.035% of non-donors. Large Labour Party donors are 1,657 times more likely to receive an honour than a non-donor and 6,969 times more likely to receive a peerage. It is almost impossible to avoid the conclusion that the Labour Party has been selling honours, including places in the House of Lords. An analysis of all donations over £50,000 since 2001 reveals that Honour certainly has its price. We publish below the average amount donated by the recipients of various honours – an “Honours Price List”. Those receiving a Peerage have given £1.07 million on average, and a Knighthood £747,000…

Source : The Price of Dishonour

Funding Facts:

  • 80% of Labour’s election funding came from the covert Loans for Lordship program.
  • Every donor who has given the party more than £1 million has been given a knighthood or a peerage.
  • Three quarters of those individuals who have given more than £50,000 to the Labour Party since 2001 have received an honour.

Laughing at Chris Bryant

Croydonian draws Guido’s attention to Chris Byrant’s question to Michael Wills, the new Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice “Does he believe that one of the most important British values is our ability to laugh at ourselves.”
That would be the same Chris Bryant who won £10,000 off the Guardian for parodying him, threatened Iain Dale with a writ and told a Press Commission sponsored event that Iain and Guido would get a kicking in the courts soon. Chris Bryant strikes Guido as someone who does not have much of an ability to laugh at himself.

Though, as this picture illustrates, he has provided us with a few laughs over the years…

CameroonHome

Last week Guido reflected on Fiona Melville’s planned rival to ConservativeHome.com known as Platform 10. Guido jokingly described it as potentially CameroonHome.com. So it was with some amusement that Guido learnt from a co-conspirator that Fiona had taken note of the suggestion and registered the name.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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