The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Sir Philip Mawer, “encouraged” him to repay payments to his ex-wife of £12,000 from his Commons expenses between last October and February, when the payments were exposed in the Mail on Sunday. Ordinary people caught defrauding the public purse get prosecuted, when MPs get caught they just repay the money. Disgraced Blunkett fiddled his expenses for his mistress, got caught and repaid the money he defrauded “by mistake”. What will it take for an MP to be prosecuted?
Can’t politicians see that their transparently venal ways are a large part of the problem?
Shouldn’t the Labour party rather than the taxpayer pay the bill?
See previous stories.
A re-energised Conservative party are intent on squeezing the 3% deficit with the LibDems, who are struggling badly in the polls. The LibDems live for by-elections, but the Tories are hoping to give them a bloody nose this time. Is this wise?
Ming’s leadership is in desperate difficulties. He has led them from polling at the +20% level to the low teens. This poor showing is becoming worryingly consistent. If they knock the LibDems into third place it will add dramatically to the calls for Ming to stand down. Is that really in the electoral interests of the Tories?
UPDATE :As someone pointed out in the comments, congratulations are due to Iain on winning more traffic than Guido last month. Guido has, to be fair, been distracted of late with two books* in the pipeline, overseeing Polish builders finishing off a new house, business pressures and just the tedium of Blair’s long goodbye sapping his enthusiasm for blogging.
Iain has beaten Guido some months in the past, competition is healthy and imminent developments in the Loans for Lordships scandal should see traffic explode. Guido will be all over it…
*The Big Red Book of New Labour Sleaze is out, the forthcoming Levy book is still some time from publication.
Back in October last year Guido wrote of Tom Watson:-
“was overheard telling senior party officials in his constituency recently that he expects “to be back in government” after Gordon takes over… Gordon wouldn’t reward the treachery that he has publicly disavowed advance knowledge of and claimed he would have advised against. Would he?“
Tom got very upset and posted in the comments
For the record: I do not want to go back into government whoever leads the Labour Party. I’m very happy being a constituency MP.
10:28 AM, October 26, 2006
He went on to write
I’m an overweight opinionated member of parliament, I embarrass my relatives all the time. That was the only accurate bit of your post. But you know this.
The bit about returning to government is the inaccurate part of your post. But then I suspect you know this too. You are asking people to comment on a story that isn’t true. It doesn’t do you or political bloggers any service. Then again, why am I bothering to say this to you? You know all this as well.
So it is a bit of a coincidence that Lord Haskell, chairman of the Board of Trustees gave a five grand donation to Gordon’s leadership campaign. Even more of a coincidence that another board member, Mr Paul Myners, gave twelve grand. Surely he can’t remain mere “mister” Myners for much longer. It was Myners of course who provided the implausible story to cover-up the Treasury’s direct payment to the Smith Institute.
You won’t read about this in the Guardian, because although it likes to advertise that it has no press baron owner, Myners is chairman of the Guardian Media Group as well as being a Sith board member. Another fortunate coincidence…
But lo, the age of spin may not be completely dead. At Michael Ellam’s first briefing as Brown’s mouthpiece on Wednesday, he announced the symbolic first move in office: stopping Alastair Campbell and Jonathan Powell from telling civil servants what to do. When sharp-eyed and unusually on the ball Lobby hacks pointed out that neither man still worked in government, Ellam, suffering perhaps first-day nerves, conceded: “It is a meaningless gesture.”
This is not quite how the exchange is reported on the No. 10 website, though:
“Put to him that the Orders of Council applied to just two people, one who had already gone and one who effectively went today, and did not actually apply to anyone else, the PMS replied that while this was technically correct, this was not a meaningless gesture.”
If Mr Ellam dares to contradict Guido there is a recording…
Gordon’s offer of a peerage was enough to get him go over to the dark side and join a government with no business nous whatsoever.
LibDems should be aware that Shirley Williams was apparently spotted going into Gordon’s Commons office. She incidentally closed down grammar schools. So presumably her talent would cancel out Bercow’s talent.
Is it all just to destabilise the opposition? Of course, but it goes both ways, Frank Field was spotted chatting to David Laws, his brow furrowed. You never know…
UPDATE : Adam Boulton is reporting “Strong rumours that the Lib Dem peer and QC Alec Carlisle will be appointed Attorney General.”
It has been written by bloggers with contributions from across the spectrum of the political blogosphere. It is in the bookshops this week or you can buy it online by clicking on the picture. And you can expect a little viral advertising campaign with a difference soon…
Usually reliable sources…[…]