PMQs Live Chat: Dave’s Big Day Edition

Exclusive: Lembit4London

There was some speculation yesterday from hacks and EyeSpyMP what exactly former MP Lembit Opik was doing loitering around Parliament. After a brief flirt with TV punditry in those coalition negotiating days, it seems Lembit has bigger and better plans.

He told the crowd at his Montgomeryshire count “in the words of Arnie Schwarzenegger, I’ll be back…” but few would have expected where he has set his sights. Guido can exclusively reveal that Lembit was visiting Liberal Democrat MPs to take soundings on whether they would support his bid to be the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London. He already has an Ealing councillor in place as a campaign manager.

Though many were quick to dismiss Boris when he first mooted the idea of running, surely the curse of Lembit would kick in? Lest we forget he ran Mark Oaten’s messy bid to be Lib Dem leader, he also lost a relatively safe seat,  and that’s without the inevitable frolicking girls coming out of the woodwork. Surely he would have more fun sticking to what he is good at… riding Segways and chasing women?

Here We Yeo Again

Tim Yeo is Chairman of Univent plc, on the board of Eurotunnel and the non-executive chairman of both Eco City Vehicles plc and AFC Energy plc. In his spare time he is an MP.

Yeo came to Guido’s attention back in Feburary when the Parliamentary Room Bookings records were released showing how green-fingered Tim had opened up the parliamentary estate to prospective investors in green technology firms. You may remember what happened when he was confronted about his mixing of politics and business live on Newsnight:

MPs are electing the Chairman of Select Committees for the first time. These vital scrutineers must hold ministers to account. Guess who is front-runner to take Energy and Climate Change? Step forward Tim Yeo.

Yeo’s dealings with AFC Energy are particularly interesting. As Guido reported before;

At the time AFC Energy plc were raising £2 million from  environmental investors, and for each of the following five months AFC Energy paid Tim Yeo £3,750 a month (up to a total of £18,750) until in December when they succeeded in raising the £2m they were seeking from environmental investors in a share placing.  Tim also got a bonus when the shares were placed with investors of 150,000 shares for his work.  All in all he made a total of some £80,000 out of the AFC deal from July when he hosted the Environmental Investment Network event until December when they sold the shares to investors.

MPs look set to elect a man completely tied up with an industry that he would be responsible for the checks and balances on. He would need cross party support to get the job. Perhaps members might like to take another look at their favoured candidate.

Troughs for All

It’s not just MPs who can get a bit of taxpayer cash you know. It seems two of the nations least-liked professions have joined forces. Estate agents Winkworth have been flyering exclusive homes in Pimlico, Belgravia and Westminster with their “Rent your home to an MP” plan. Guido is still trying to find out which exact MPs it is they are working with but their desire for only “exclusive” homes says it all.

Sadly for those looking for a new lover, you have to move out before the esteemed member moves in.

Statporn for May : 3.3 Million Hits

Forgot  to do the blog stats yesterday: 252,862 visitors made 1,313,840 visits to the blog viewing 2,218,210 pages, add in 1,147,291 views via feed readers and you have over 3.3 million hits on the blog you love and politicians hate.  Many thanks to the advertisers who make it all possible.

For comparison the blog traffic is neck and neck with the Speccie’s web traffic and double what the New Statesman gets.  The most popular stories last month were:

Guido also wants to say a long overdue thanks to Juliet Samuel who started out as an intern last summer, became a Guy News staffer and “famous for Westminster” as Emily Nomates; the presenter, producer, script writer and editor of Guy News. Juliet has now been poached by City A.M. editor Allister Heath to write for them.

Guido’s loss is his gain…

Japanese PM Resigns to Save Party at Polls

In an effort to shore up the ruling Democratic Party’s faltering fortunes in an election next month, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has resigned under pressure from his party telling them “In order to revitalise our party, we need to bring back a thoroughly clean Democratic Party.”

There are parallels, Hatoyama – nicknamed “The Alien” for his quirky comments – has a reputation for indecision and broken promises to match our former PM. Many on the oppostion benches will be thinking that if only Gordon Brown had been as honourable as the Japanese PM, the Labour Party might still be in government.

Will Hutton’s High Pay Hypocrisy

Miserably left-wing Will Hutton was chosen last week by the government to conduct a review into excessive pay. Fair play you may think for the former Observer editor who has consistently argued that the government should tack to the left, but as is so often the way with the Guardian reading metropolitian elite, he doesn’t quite practice what he preaches. Although unpaid for his new government advisory role, Hutton still writes for the Observer and Guardian. He is also on the exec  of The Work Foundation

Though consistently talking about best financial practice his own charitable think-tank’s accounts are some 32 days late. But don’t mind that, the old accounts revealed far greater hypocrisy. Look at the staff pay table. As head honcho and mouth of the organisation you know which end of that list Hutton is on.

If he wants to see fairer pay will he be giving up the £180,000-a-year he takes home from the charity?

Whodunnit?

Speculation is rife about who stuck the knife into David Laws and told Holly Watt at The Telegraph that she might want to go back and take a look at their well guarded, unredacted, expenses files. There was a desire to out Laws officially from the moment he stepped into the Treasury, but who could have been so angry with his hurtling rise to village-fame?

Obvious suspect number one would have to be the man fleeing the scene of a crime. Liam Byrne was humiliated and has left his recovering party wide open to attack with his infamous “there’s no money left” note that Laws revealed so publicly. Baldemort doesn’t look like a man who would let things go lightly…

Some eyebrows were raised at Alastair Campbell over the weekend after he appeared on Question Time slamming Laws on Thursday and even produced a framed photograph of the former Treasury Chief. Vendettas are his forté, but would he or Byrne have had the knowledge of Lundie? That vital clue points towards a Brutus-style stab in the back….

As Guido’s old chum David Aaronvitch said, Vince Cable has spent the last three weeks looking “like a bulldog sipping piss from a nettle.” He  has got the raw end of the cuts and his economic reputation was decimated by Laws. Clearly he isn’t a happy bunny and as Guido wrote last week, he stood down as Deputy Leader in a simple manoeuvre to have the left-winger Simon Hughes elevated, reminding Clegg of the more lunatic elements of his party. In collusion with Hughes, Vince is clearly up for causing trouble. A former Deputy Leader and a former President of the Liberal Democrats would be privy to vital information about their MPs. Like rumours of boyfriends for example.

David Laws’s right-wingery drives the left of his party round the bend. When he became the darling of Westminster, applauded on both sides of the House for his deft Commons performances, he would have given many of them the needle. The culprit could be the one who would have not only the spite but the knowledge too. Either that or it was some young upstart at Edelman who wanted to make a quick buck.

Or perhaps Holly cross-checked the expenses claims against records for the address, noted that the landlord lived at the address and was a good looking young man which in view of the rumours… You know, good old fashioned research?

Ed Balls Campaign Diary*

I’m still chuckling about those lines we put in Yvette’s article about why she “chose” not to stand. “We share stuff – including taking the kids to school. And he does all the cooking, shopping and sorting […]

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Musical SpAds

A few re-jigs of the SpAd list after the weekend’s little upsets. With Danny Alexander moving, perhaps temporarily, to the Treasury, MP-turned-Special Advisor Willie Rennie keeps his job now becoming Michael Moore’s bag carrier in the Scotland Office. Alexander’s other […]

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Don’t All Claim at Once

The IPSA online expenses system has crashed this morning.

All those MPs rushing to claim cash…[…]

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Nick’s Three Marriages

Guido’s operatic eyes and ears report that Nick Clegg spent last night’s performance of the Marriage of Figaro at the Royal Opera House seductively charming his wife in Spanish. New politics is clearly alive and well as he found time […]

+ READ MORE +



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