Only on Saturday another Hugh Muir piece also appeared in the Guardian, headlined Boris Johnson Faces Conflict of Interest Charge Over Office, over Boris taking free office space from a Ken hating business.
Conflict of interest charges are serious indeed and should be answered. So how much did Hugh Muir get for his contribution to a report commissioned by Ken – The Search for Common Ground? We know it cost the Mayor’s taxpayers £22,000. We know of course it had a foreword by Mayor Ken. What we don’t know is how much of the taxpayers £22,000 Hugh pocketed courtesy of Ken.
Guido has tried to contact him to find out, but no reply so far. Hugh’s article on Boris concluded that Boris “should know there is no such thing as a free lunch”. Quite, so how much did Hugh get from Ken Livingstone?
So you have another 24 hours to put in any further complaints…
Duncan Borrowman, his LibDem challenger has complained not only to the police about Derek, but about his son to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.
More sleaze due today : Lord Hoyle is up in front of a Lords disciplinary committee this afternoon. He got caught taking cash for introducing an arms company lobbyist to the minister in charge of weapons purchases in the Lords.
Doug Hoyle was a former Labour MP and government whip before hopping on the unelected gravy train, although not a hereditary peer his son Lindsay is the MP for Chorley, so the family will suckle on the teat of the taxpayer for many years to come. If Doug is found guilty of abusing his position will Gordon Brown remove the Labour whip from him? Has the moral compass lost all sense of direction?
The important thing is, he has now dealt with the sleaze issue decisively. What is Gordon going to do? After the Abrahams scandal broke Gordon demanded the resignation of Peter Watt. He told the monthly press conference immediately afterwards that undeclared donations were unlawful and unacceptable and that was why Watt had to go.
Since then we have had Hain – he went – but we still have Harman, Johnson and Wendy. Why haven’t they gone? They broke the law. Why are they still lawmakers and ministers of the crown?
Looks like we should have ordered champagne….
1) [Page 4, bullet point 3] Despite current assertions they are sticking with fingerprints, the strategy clearly includes options to gather personal information and issue ID cards WITHOUT fingerprints, e.g. “rising 16 year olds could be sent pre-populated forms for the Inclusion card… which would only need to be signed and returned”.
2) [Page 4, bullet point 5] Indication that up to 10% of the population will be called in for ‘interrogation’ (ID interviews).
3) [Page 3, bullet point 1] Language suggests it will effectively be compulsory to *carry* the card – counter to Ministerial assertion.
4) [Page 5,’Next Steps’, bullet point 1] Initial target groups (“trusted relationships”) to be identified and confirmed by end of January 2008 – i.e. within the next 48 hours!
5) [Page 4, bullet point 6] They are explicitly pursuing a policy of “coercion” not compulsion because universal compulsion “cannot be delivered quickly due to the need for inevitably controversial and time consuming primary legislation and would pose serious political, enforcement and resource challenges.”
(Great headline in the Mail, where do they get their ideas?)
Cameron has the power to withdraw the whip from Conway, his constituency party have the power to withdraw their support for him as a candidate. What is it to be?
Incidentally, do you think we will see articles from Sir Michael White et al explaining that it is a trivial amount of money? Will we see those who have been writing apologia on behalf of Hain, Harman, Johnson and Wendy Alexander doing the same for Derek Conway? Don’t hold your breath…
The Select Committee on Standards and Privileges is recommending Conway pay back some £13,000 that it reckons was over-paid. Reading between the lines they suspect, but have been unable to prove, that no work was done whatsoever. Can you think of another profession where if £40,000 was paid to a family member for nothing in return the police would not be called in?
UPDATE : Duncan Borrowman, LibDem candidate for Conway’s seat has written to the police demanding an investigation.
These actions breach the APPC code of conduct, which states that members
must keep strictly separate from their duties and activities as political consultants any personal activity or involvement on behalf of a political party.
Steve Morgan is presumably going to try and claim that this was all done in a personal capacity. Herein lies a problem, the Hain4Labour campaign had use of MAM staff. For example Kate Lewis, head of MAM’s Cardiff office was working on the campaign – which also begs the question why no donation in kind was registered? Her services do not come cheap and would not fall below the non-declarable £1000 threshold.
From: “Steve Morgan”
To: “Geraint Davies”, “Kate Lewis”, “Hugh Roberts”, “Andrew Stallard”, “Wayne David”, “CARBERRY, Joe”, “Albert Owen”, “Chris Ruane”, “Huw ID”, “Eluned Morgan”
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 16:20
Thanks for coming to the meeting with Peter on Saturday we’re really glad to have you on board and grateful for your support for Peter’s campaign.
There are two items we need to deal with immediately.
1. First meeting date.
If everyone’s ( MPs are welcome but there’s no whip!!) happy to meet in Cardiff for an hour over lunch we can use my offices down on the Bay. Can you make either the 8th, 13th or 14th of March?
2. Wales-wide network.
We talked about getting a key supporter in every constituency. If you know of anyone who can fill these roles for us can you let me know (with contact details please) before we meet. Can you also let me know which constituencies you’re in.
It also means that there is yet another undeclared to the Electoral Commission benefit-in-kind donation probably worth tens of thousands of pounds…
I think that Peter Hain would be ideal as the next James Bond. Bond has very little time for bean counters and paperwork, he has a high opinion of himself and he bends a few rules if that helps. The tan and man of the world looks are perfect for the part.
He needs a Quantum of Solace just now. He could star in:
Diamonds Are From Sponsors
Dr No If No Buts
The Man with the Golden Face
Tomorrow Never Lies
Goldfinger in the Till
(Hopefully) You Only Live Once
The World is Not Enough, Thunderballs etc are fine as titles.
Cassandra suggested Dye Another Day, alas there is only one winner, so if Brian emails Guido with his postal address a copy of The Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze will be sent to him.
Are there people with dodgy histories? What was their motive in giving cash to Johnson? Consider this a little experiment in distributed journalism and research. Good luck, remember the Dead-Tree-Press will be reading and looking for leads. Last week identifiable traffic from newsroom offices surged and contributed to the 30,000 a day readership…