MPs Quietly Increase Unreceipted Expenses By 25%

The post Expensegate updated “Green Book” of rules for MPs for expense claiming written essentially by MPs, for the benefit of MPs is front-paged on the Telegraph this morning.  Surprise, surprise they have upped the amount they can pocket in cash, tax free, without the need for receipts from £400 a month to £500 a month for “subsistence”. A benefit worth over £9,000-a-year if they paid tax on it. They of course don’t.  Troughers like Tom Watson and Alan Duncan all took the full amount available in the past for “subsistence”“. Will they dare do it again? Guido will be watching…

Why are MPs paid subsistence for just doing their jobs, they would presumably still have to eat if they were not MPs?  Families of four survive on less than the £125 a week the MPs claim they need to pig out on groceries. It is just a tax free bung to themselves.

Incidentally, they will spin that this was done before Expensegate and is all the fault of that idiot Speaker Martin. It was indeed initiated by Speaker Martin, but it was approved and finalised on the quiet by Speaker Bercow. So much for a new era…

*Dizzy updates in the comments that this was out earlier, just it got little coverage. The FT blog is keeping score. Worth bearing in mind that MPs still trouser more in tax free expenses alone than a person on minimum wage working a 40 hour week takes home:

ComparisonThis post has been re-written to reflect Dizzy’s  fact checking. Back to the rosé for Guido…

Drunk Trading

Guido had lunch a couple of weeks ago with a reader who had promised to buy him a decent bottle for slotting Damian McBride.

This co-conspirator happens to be one of the most successful traders in the City and a wine buff, so when he says a “decent bottle of wine” we are talking a bottle that you can get a mortgage on.

Over lunch he said that his big break in the early days was trading drunk, a few drinks gave him the confidence to take risk. Guido explained that his drunk trading merely got him carried out the back door of the dealing room by worried co-workers back in his investment banking days.

Anyway, this Friday after a few bottles of rosé* Guido finally steeled himself to short the stockmarket rally via U.S. stock futures. They subsequently rallied into the close taking about 20% of this year’s trading profits with them. Damn the Bloomberg for Blackberry app, damn being able to enter trades from your Blackberry when tipsy.

Anyway the holiday has not been completely blighted, stock markets are going south today. Who knows, Guido might even make a profit…

*People knock rosé wine, including the farmer who is our neighbour here. There are some cracking underestimated varieties which suit Guido’s palate – they go very well with salads. Honestly. Not too bad on their own, in a deck chair, in the shade.

Staggering Sillyness from Macintyre

The New Statesman is running an implausible story that relations between Dave and Boris are ‘at breaking point’. Predictably, it’s written by James Macintyre.  Silly season must have started before recess for him.

How can we take seriously anything that comes from James Macintyre? He was already under suspicion of being a willing conduit for Labour spin inventions after he reported – unsourced – a claim that Obama thought Cameron was a “lightweight” – a story that Guido knows to be an invention.  Ask yourself – does young Macintyre really have Whitehouse contacts that would provide him with that kind of insight – if it were genuine?  His journalistic credibity vanished altogether when his email exchanges with Derek Draper were made public in Private Eye. They revealed Macintyre’s desperate disappointment at not becoming a Labour SpAd for Ed Miliband. Wily Draper played his former intimate, young James, like a sucker and “borrowed” several thousand quid from him to boot. Gullible Macintyre remains owed the money.

Macintyre has no Tory contacts at a senior level around Boris or Dave, this will within ten months prove something of a career crippling problem for the political editor of a serious political weekly. In view of Macintyre’s latest spin invention, we can safely assume he’s back on the hunt for a government job.

UPDATE : Boris has publicly called the story piffle. A source not a million miles from Cameron’s office was (via email) scathing about Macintyre after this story went up. Boy Macintyre himself has been in touch to complain that he didn’t claim his source for his “Obama thinks Cameron is a lightweight” story was Whitehouse, it was apparently a “diplomatic source”. It was transparent spin is what it was.

Miscellaneous Musings

Guido is not following things as closely as normal so forgive him if none of this is news. The wireless mobile connection out here in the sticks from France Telecom is a painfully slow EDGE rather than G3 connection, they charge by the hour rather than by the megabyte, so the worse the service the more expensive it is – French rationalism for you.

Bad Al Campbell is kicking the blogging habit for the summer holidays, Paul Waugh is as well, Iain Dale told Guido he was too – yet he seems as prolific as ever.

Guido has been amused and irritated by these articles:

The Guardian amused with Take the Profit Motive Out of News. They managed to do that long ago, now the the rest of the “quality” vanity publisher broadsheets are following suit. See a small flaw with this business model?

Apparently the Tories are telling lobbyists to back off. So Conservative Party conference won’t be packed to the gills with expense card flashing drinks buying lobbyists? How many Tory PPCs are or were lobbyists? How many Tory MPs have links to lobbying firms. How many Tory HQ staffers are being poached by lobbyists? Backing off? More like backing up a truck…

Malloch-Brown changing tack on helicopters for Afghanistan infuriated Guido. If you are for or against the occupation of Afghanistan, in fact whatever your view on the strategy (Guido asks what is the exit strategy?), we should all be agreed that they should be given whatever resources they require. The spin from Downing Street is nauseating. They care more about covering their arses politically than protecting the boys in Helmand. Fox is right the retraction was a “pathetic spectacle“.

Am very much enjoying revelations about Berlusconi’s sexual shenanigans (he is 72 after all) and the best story of the silly season so far: the lesbian music mistress and the teenager at City of London School for Girls. Very St Trinians…

Incidentally to those complaining that their comments are in the moderation queue. They will probably stay there until late August. Haven’t you got something better to do than monging on a moribund blog when the sun is out?

Question of Priorities

Ring Ring Ring

BBC Hi I’m calling from the BBC
GF I’m on the beach..
BBC It is about Damian Mc..
GF in France
BBC Would you be…
GF No.
GF Au revoir

Political Holidays

In Ireland the economic downturn is the worst for a generation, unemployment is rising and the political class is trying to ram the rejected Lisbon Treaty down the electorate’s throats on October 2. So last week was a perfect time for them to go on holiday until mid-September.

In Westminster the political class disappears this week.  No taxpayers will be harmed by Guido’s holiday for a month in France and he will be back before the MPs to hound those going on taxpayer funded “fact-finding” missions to the Carribean.

This year, as in previous years, the blog will be sporadically updated during the holidays (though remember the year when Guido revealed John Prescott’s long term mistress over a glass of rosé from the maison secondaire).  The ensuing media malestorm did not amuse Mrs Fawkes.  Guido has promised no scoops will disturb us on the beach and that the Blackberry will be consulted only sporadically.

Rich & Mark’s Monday View


McBride : I’ll Get Guido

Damian McPoisonAs Guido begins a month at Chateau Fawkes, Damian McBride surfaces to give his first interview. Speaking to the Guardian from a pub, they report

McBride has some unfinished business with “that bloke Fawkes”. “He sent me a text on the day I resigned saying: ‘You started it, I finished it’, he reveals. McBride, however, may not be finished yet.

Charming as ever.

You know Guido can’t be bothered to point to all the self-serving spin in the article. Suffice to say Smeargate wasn’t something put together in a few minutes as he claims, they had many planning meetings, including some at Unite’s HQ with Charlie Whelan in attendance. Lying again, that will be five Hail Marys Damian, what kind of example are you to the boys at Finchley Catholic High School?

Anyway, if Guido was in Damian’s shoes, he’d be more worried about the wrath of Nadine than getting revenge. Now Damian has a job her lawyers will be able to serve her writ at his place of work. They had been unable to locate him, until now…

UPDATE : Interesting that in the Radio 5 interview, Damian refers to the emails to Derek about off colour comments on this blog. When Guido made a Freedom of Information request for those very emails they came back with very little – certainly not the relevant emails.  Guido might have to return to this issue…

5.4 Million Unemployed, 17.3% or 1 in 6

Officially there are 2.38 million unemployed, in reality there are 5.4 million not in work who should be available for work. That is equivalent to 17.3%, or one-in-six of the labour force.  The left leaning economist Chris Dillow argues that […]


Friday Caption Competition (Exclusive Purnell Hotpants Edition)


N.B. If you like what you see, he is back on the market ladies…[…]


Party Politics

Lovely to see dozens of co-conspirators last night.  No doubt there will be embarrassing pictures.  Thanks to everyone who bought Guido a Guinness, it went better than you think with the Pimms.  The Karoake later in the evening was legend.  […]


Orange Booker Turns Blue

ChandilaChamali and Chandila Fernando have defected from the Libdems to the Tories. The LibDems are, as parties always do, playing it down and hinting that it is sour grapes. Guido spoke with Chandila yesterday, he said that when he ran […]


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Quote of the Day

Lord Sugar on Jeremy Corbyn:

“If they ever got anywhere near electing him and him being the Prime Minister then I think we should all move to China or somewhere like that and let this place just rot.”

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