No opposition MP had the wit to question the conflict of interest and propriety of Hain receiving a £1,500 donation to his campaign from PGA Ryder Cup PR firm TM Communications. More here…
If a politician failed to report an item within 30 days they would get a fixed fine of £100. If they failed to report an item after 60 days a £1,000 fine. If they fail to report an item after 90 days a mandatory one month suspension from the house – unpaid.
Party and constituency reporting would continue as now. To accept donations any other way would be a criminal offence. Simple enough even for the most incompetent politician…
Since Ken is quoted in nearly every article throughout the 20 pages, on concerns ranging from London’s housing shortage, Tube fares, a Metropolitan Police survey, Oyster Cards, offers for Londoners to get half price bus fares and crime in London, Hosie says: “This is an outrageous waste of taxpayers’ money to provide propaganda for Ken Livingstone’s mayoral campaign. The newspaper articles have little or no relevance to anyone outside London. Bad enough that taxpayers’ money is wasted on propaganda but then to have it posted throughout the UK adds insult to injury.”
Hat-tip : Laban
As an experienced spin merchant he is executing a PR technique known as CYA – Cover Your Arse…
UPDATE : Ian Gibson MP, not Morgan told the Guardian that he is “revolted” that the PPF appeared to have been established solely to channel funds to Hain’s campaign. The Guardian “article was amended on Tuesday January 15 2008. We conflated quotes from Ian Gibson and Steve Morgan in error. This has been corrected.” So Guido has amended this posting and deleted comments based on a reading of the article.
During his conspiracy trial Hain elected not to give evidence, Lord Justice Roskill finding him guilty emphasised “He gave no explanation of his part over the incidents with which he was charged.”
In another legal case, Donna Easter, a 32 year-old single mother of two who worked in Mr Hain’s constituency office in Neath, took him to an industrial tribunal – she allegedly was paid £35 for supposedly a 15-hour week. There were allegations floating around at the time that she was also paid from petty cash to allow her to continue claiming benefits. Hain was not at the hearing in Cardiff, despite his desk at the Welsh Office being only 300 yards way.
Rachel Davies, the tribunal chairwoman, said: “It is unfortunate that Mr Hain is not present today to put his side of the case”. The tribunal found unanimously in her favour and she was awarded compensation of £2,746 and £299 holiday pay. Similarly today Hain once again stays silent when he is in the shit, as speculation grows that the police will be called in…
So Guido started digging around for their client lists. That is how the coincidence between Steve Morgan’s client Tesco and Hain’s “Every Little Helps” endorsement was uncovered.
TM Communications are not registered lobbyists with the APPC so their client list wasn’t on the register. It took some investigative digging to find a client list already in the public domain from their now deleted website. Their clients include Newport Networks, The Professional Golfers Association, and investment group Wesley Clover.
TM Communications say that their £1,500 donation to Hain’s campaign was made by them “on behalf of the directors and shareholders”. Not Sir Terry, he “doesn’t do politics”.
Grayling ask what PPF’s “status actually is, what due diligence your campaign carried out into it, and what involvement you have had with it?”
“In your statement on Saturday afternoon you said that you had ‘checked with my Permanent Secretary whether there is any conflict of interest’. This statement raises more questions than it answers – questions it is essential you answer fully and urgently:
· I assume that ‘Permanent Secretary’ here refers to the Department for Work and Pensions; who have you contacted in the Wales Office to make the same checks regarding conflicts of interest?
· Have you discussed with the Permanent Secretary at the DWP and appropriate officials in the Wales Office comments you have made supporting Picture Financial Services, Tesco, the Cuddy Group, and indeed any other companies you have endorsed as a minister?
· When did you first make the Permanent Secretary at the DWP and appropriate senior officials in the Wales Office aware that donations to your deputy leadership campaign had been made by Neville Allport (CEO of Picture Financial), Steve Morgan (whose lobbying firm represents Tesco) and Mike Cuddy (Managing Director of Cuddy Group)?”
The conflict-of-interest aspect is the subject of Guido’s complaint to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. It is a fascinating coincidence that donors to Hain’s Steve Morgan run campaign as well as clients of Morgan-the-Organ’s lobbying firm get gushing praise from their financial beneficiary – Peter Hain.
All too fascinating for Guido…
From : BARRY, Alda
Sent: 06 December 2007 14:44
To: Da Costa, Nikki
Good morning Nikki
I promised Mr McLoughlin written confirmation of the areas of interest where Members must register both with me and also, under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA), with the Electoral Commission.
I hope the following brief summary is helpful, but Mr McLoughlin might also like to consult the Electoral Commission for more detail. I usually speak to Rachel Savage on 020 7271 xxxx
The Electoral Commission is
interested in ‘political donations’. Benefits personal to the Member (eg tickets to sporting events) are not of interest to them.
The areas of overlap are concentrated in Categories 4 (Sponsorship) and 6 (Overseas visits). In the case of the latter, their threshold is higher than ours – they do not require the registration of visits worth £1,000 or less.
There are also a few interests which we register under Category 5 (Gifts, benefits and hospitality (UK)) which are regarded by the Commission as political donations which need to be registered with them if they are worth more than £1,000 – car parking passes or web-site design (if worth more than £1,000) are examples of these.
Under PPERA, it is the responsibility of the Member to report appropriately to the Electoral Commission. It has recently become the practice of this office to advise Members to consult the Commission if it appears to us that an interest should be registered with them, but I must emphasise that this is purely informal arrangement and does not absolve Members from the responsibility for being aware of, and complying with, their obligations under the Act. Nor can this office advise, expect ingeneral terms, about the requirements of the Act.
This office and the Committee on Standards and Privileges are aware of some dissatisfaction among Members that they have to register the same interest twice. The Electoral Administration Act 2006 opens up the possibility of a ‘one-stop shop’ for reporting where the requirements overlap, and it is hoped that the House will, before too long, be given the opportunity to consider the implications of such a system and decide whether it wishes to implement it.
I hope this helps
So nothing about third party funding of staff via CCHQ in the main email.
From: Da Costa, Nikki
Sent: 07 December 2007 11:03
To: BARRY, ALda
Subject: RE: Overlap
This is very useful
Nikki da Costa
Special Adviser to the Opposition Chief Whip
A simple acknowledgement.
From : BARRY, Alda
Sent: 07 December 2007 13:53
To: Da Costa, Nikki
Subject: RE: Overlap
I think I misled you just now. The register deals with donations to a member’s constituency association and not to central offices. Sorry.
The highlighted text appears to get Osborne off the hook. What do you think?
Guido is sceptical about multi-authored blogs. They have to have a tight-focus to be successful. Waffling about anything and everything doesn’t work. Good luck, but Guido is reaching info overload…
Paul Burgin, a party press officer for the N. E. Herts CLP writes “Hain Must Go…he should hand in his resignation first thing on Monday”. Highbury CLP’s Tim McLoughlin has questions, “If he is unable to run his own small office effectively, how can one expect him to properly manage the Department for Work and Pensions?”
Susan Press, a Labour Deputy Mayor, writes “In life we all make mistakes. So I admit to serious misjudgment in voting for Peter Hain as Deputy Leader.” The “bogus think-tank” is the last straw, she doesn’t believe a word he says.
Even LabourHome’s usually on-message Alex Hilton reckons it “untenable that he will remain in his position for another week and the end of his ministerial career is probably only awaiting the Prime Minister’s deliberations on the implications for a full-scale reshuffle.” On the left Andrew Coates complains “that he has the gall to explain away his gaff of trousering a mere £100,000 by means which would get him imprisoned were he to do the same as a Claimant under the system of his own Department of Work and Pensions… Meanwhile Hain is found out as Mister Well-lined Pockets himself.” David Osler, a left-wing friend of old, regrets that once “I did at least accord you a certain degree of genuine respect as a radical reforming politician. I don’t think I like what time and high office has done to you.”
It is also noticeable that not a single Cabinet Minister has defended Hain…
This is the third identified corporate endorsement with cash links to Hain. (Picture Financial Services and Cuddy both got Hain’s endorsements, he got their cash). Morgan gave £5,000 of his in part Tesco derived earnings to Hain’s campaign. Which Morgan then forgot to declare…
The press release sent out by the DWP was headlined “Every Little Helps”. The somewhat thin justification for his civil service department doing corporate PR slogans for Tesco was that they had employed previously unemployed workers. The evidence is that Peter is always willing to help out with PR for donors…
Why did his campaign wash cash through the Progressive Policies Forum (PPF) shell company in that case?[…]