Spelman Ruling Establishes Important Principle

Guido argued strongly ahead of the decision that whatever the Standards and Privileges Committee ruled exactly, Spelman should have to pay back the cash she fiddled from her parliamentary expenses to pay the nanny. Given that the Committee of MPs invariably gives MPs under investigation the benefit of the doubt it seemed likely that she would get away with some claim ignorance of the rules, cite some ambiguity, claim it was a technical or administrative over-sight or whatever. These people are politicians after all, spin and blame avoidance are their way of life.

Nevertheless, even though it was ruled that she had “inadvertently” fiddled the money, she has been ordered to pay some of the money back on the basis that the taxpayer was paying the higher rate for a nanny not the rate for a parliamentary assistant and she therefore has to repay the difference.

They gave her the benefit of the doubt. Spelman ironically contradicted herself in her own evidence and shot herself in the foot. [Full report here.]

Mrs Spelman told us that Mrs Haynes “would have been most interested in the take-home pay received for her employment as a whole.” In our view, this does not help Mrs Spelman’s case. Rather, it tends to support the Commissioner’s view that Mrs Haynes would have been unlikely to have worked as Mrs Spelman’s nanny without some separate financial remuneration. The fact that Mrs Haynes was paid nothing as Mrs Spelman’s nanny while she was also working and being paid as Mrs Spelman’s administration assistant, but after giving up the latter role was paid a salary as nanny of £13,000, is in our view telling.

Many would say that just demonstrates what a poor advocate she is, others would say she was just being honest. Nevertheless she hired her own nanny subsequently at the rate she was previously paying Tina Haynes out of our taxes.

Guido regards this as a victory over the piggies, it established the principle that wrongfully claimed expenses – even if “inadvertently” claimed – must be repaid. Take note Jacqui. So now what do we do about the Wintertons?

Deputy PMQs Which Started in America Globally Locally

Say that Again, Where Did the Problem Start?

Gordon was like a puppy on heat in the Oval office, clearly relieved that Obama managed to squeeze in his photo-op in between lunch and seeing the Boy Scouts of America. Here is what Gordon told the squashed in Lobby
“This is a global problem. It needs global solutions. There is a global banking collapse that we are dealing with. If we could have the same standards and the same rules that we are about to apply in the USA and in Britain to apply to other countries around the world, the same standards of disclosure and accountability and remuneration, I think the confidence in the banking system will be restored.”

For some reason he didn’t say the phrase about the problem “which started in America”. He did however ignore the questioner* who asked him would he apologise.

*Guido is sometimes harsh on Nick Robinson, but that was a blinder, Gordon looked winded as if punched in the solar plexus. We can but dream….

MPs Push Through Two Rule Changes to Hide Fiddles

It is a legal requirement that on the ballot paper an MP gives his home address. It is a connection that allows voters to know where their representative lives. It carries a risk of course, all celebrities would prefer nutters not to know where they live, but that is the price for being in the public eye.

The link has survived the threats of anarchist bombers, fears of Nazi invasion and IRA terrorism, survived until now. Ask yourself why MPs yesterday voted to keep their home addresses secret for the first time in parliamentary history. Is it really over fears for security? Is it actually because they want to keep things private and make it more difficult to discover that they are fiddling their expenses or have us know in what style they live at our expense? Isn’t it really because they want to keep on troughing out of sight.

That is not all, Guido wants to remind co-conspirators that because so many MPs are getting caught fiddling the main home / second home allowance – Julian Lewis is the latest – MPs are also planning to change the rules in the Green Book to make the fiddle permissible. Take a moment to take that in.

The Speaker appointed committee supposedly to look into tightening up the rules and improving transparency has recommended that the biggest and most expensive fiddle committed by MPs be made permissible. It is a Kafkaesque joke at our expense. It will no longer be a blatant fiddle by MPs defrauding the taxpayer, it will be within the rules.

Also the provision in the rules that “any allowance for overnight costs arising from Parliamentary duties in London may not be used for accommodation expenses in respect of a residence designated by an hon Member as his main residence for tax purposes” will not be included in the new Green Book. So the pigs will be able to maximise their capital gains exemption on their HMRC defined primary residence and maximise their expense claims on their self-determined primary residence for ripping off the taxpayer. Only venal MPs would fix the laws for themselves so that they can profitably legally have two different primary residences.

They might as well just spit in our faces and send us the bill for cleaning up.

Flashback : Brown Visits America – 2008 v 2009

2008 Gordon lands in America in the morning and the dollar crashes to an all time historic low by lunchtime:

2009 Gordon lands in Washington and the Dow crashes to an historic low by teatime:

Once again the Jonah effect is felt transatlantic, God punishes all those who come into contact with the accursed one-eyed son of the manse.

Mr Brown Goes to Washington

This is pure comedy; Ben Brogan reflects on the gift of a pencil holder (?) made from wood from HMS Gannet:

…I wonder what Mr Obama will make of the fact that the only action it saw was in Sudan when it shelled rebels against the British empire. He’s also getting Sir Martin Gilbert’s seven volume biography of Churchill, which will help him find out more about how the Mau-Mau were successfully suppressed in Kenya by the British Emp… Oh, I’m sure it will be fine.

It was of course Churchill who ordered the suppression of the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya in the 1950s; Obama’s grandfather was detained as a subversive for six months at that time. Hopefully Obama will see the funny side. Already in Washington, Adam Boulton said yesterday that

… observers will be on the look out for any hint of a patronising slight from the President. For example Downing Street is hoping for a joint news conference with the President as was routine with Bush and Clinton…

On landing outside snowbound Washington after a 7 hour transatlantic flight, while Brown was getting his post-flight make-up done onboard, the rest of the Lobby learnt there is to be no press conference with Obama.

Brogan says there will just be

… a quick question or two on the fly, not the standing podium-to-podium with the Messiah image that Mr Brown imagined. The joint presser is usually a given on these trips, so this is odd.

Over at the Telegraph Toby Harnden mocks

Mr Brown might be forgiven for thinking that his friend, rival and predecessor Tony Blair would not have been treated the same way by his bosom buddy President George W. Bush. After all, there are 132 rooms in the White House at least some of which, presumably, are currently be free of snow.

On the other hand, President Obama is terribly busy this Tuesday. The White House schedule tells us that he is delivering remarks at the Department of Transportation to deliver remarks about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is also speaking at the Department of Interior to mark its 160th anniversary.

There’s a conflab with Pentagon chief Bob Gates. Oh, and Mr Obama will also meet “a delegation from the Boy Scouts of America and receive their 2008 Report to the Nation” in the Oval Office.

Mr Brown might lament that despite the so-called “special relationship” Britain is now getting the same treatment as the President of Uruguay but he need not despair. I’m told there’s a chance he might get drinks with Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening.

The Boy Scouts of America obviously are better prepared than the Downing Street boys…

Jonah Goes to Washington: Ill Wind Blows From the EastStorm Strikes Capital, Dow Falls Below 7,000

Cui Bono M’Lords?

The Construction Bill passing through the House of Lords is a classic of its kind. Technical, boring and of little interest to most people, except for those in the industry who will profit or lose from amendments to the tune of millions. Lord O’Neill, the former Labour MP turned ermine-clad troughing piggy, decided to withdraw amendments to the bill after The Times’ Sam Coates spotted that he was paid by the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group.

Guido’s co-conspirator from the property world has now spotted that Lord O’Neill’s withdrawn amendments from the Local Democracy, Economic Development, Construction Bill have recently been re-tabled by Lord Borrie. The same exact amendments (Amendments 203A to 217A) without alteration.

Compare Lord O’Neill’s amendments to Lord Borrie’s amendments.

Guido has gone to the trouble of underling the differences between the two amendments in red. Perhaps Lord Borrie personally feels strongly about construction contracts or he’s just mates with Lord O’Neill. Either way I’m sure Lord O’Neill’s sponsors, the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group, are happy with the coincidence.

They really are all at it in the Parliament of Whores…

February : 865,575 Views off 651,379 Visits by 118,151 Readers

Don’t quite know why traffic was so high in February, which was a short month without that much excitement.

The most popular stories were

MSM types keep



Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View



Happy St David’s Day

Happy St David’s Day to you all, and to Steve Morgan happy birthday and happy wedding anniversary. Morgan is unfortunately reeling from the recession and reaping the consequences of his sleazy spin antics being widely exposed. Morgan has reputedly been



Union Boss has Bling Lifestyle

Grandad Fawkes was a Fabian in his youth (we are all allowed a few follies), he once recounted to a young Guido the day he lost his faith in the Labour Party. He was in his mid-twenties, on the lowest



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Quote of the Day

François Hollande on the EU referendum:

“The only possible way for those who’re not convinced about Europe is to leave Europe. There’s no other way.”

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