This isn’t a surprise. The Clerk of the Parliaments, Michael Pownall, gave the Lords almost free reign to continue troughing by ruling that there is no definition of main residence for the purposes of expenses. A ruling almost designed to make a prosecution impossible. Uncharged is not the same as innocent…
In a campaign worthy of Jo Swinson it seems Nadine has declared war on London buses displaying 14ft ads of half-naked women trying to flog underwear. “It is becoming more hardcore and shocking. Since when did it become acceptable to have larger-than-life posters of scantily clad women moving up and down every street?” And the giant shirtless Ronaldo/Armani ad is fine though?
Paul Waugh is enjoying Le Monde’s profile of George Osborne which gives him quite a kicking. Is it really that remarkable when a left-wing, French journalist gives a eurosceptic, British conservative politician a rough time?
She does have form, in a recent profile Virginie Malingre characterised another eurosceptic right-winger as a “Conservateur Barbare“. Charming…
UPDATE : The trial date has been set for Devine, Morley and Chaytor – March 30, Southwark Crown Court. Predictably they tried to plead parliamentary privilege to Horseferry Magistrates and even refused at first to get in the dock. Their lawyers told the court that the case infringed upon the separation of powers. Desperate.
They are trying to claim it is a matter of principle and an affront to parliament, which is why they don’t think they should be in the dock. They have been charged with offences under the Theft Act, not matters of political principle or constitutional importance. They just don’t get it do they. They are being charged for criminal acts, not political activities.
The Tories are today unveiling their technology manifesto. The “Google Government” talk of the last few years has become a promise, though it remains to be seen how it will be implemented. Francis Maude just told the launch that the next generation of Googles and Microsofts “should be British“.
Despite the best intentions of the fastest broadband network in Europe, without a real cut in corporation taxes, particularly on capital gains, research and development, the UK isn’t going to have a rival to Silicon Valley anytime soon…
Ed Balls savaged Michael Gove on Monday for suggesting that only 45 pupils on free school meals went to Oxbridge – “You keep refusing to listen! I think he should do his homework a little bit better…” he spat across the Dispatch box. His humiliating climb down came only hours later. Thankfully Michael Fabricant, like many others, wishes to savour a rare moment where Balls concedes one of his many dubious lines was, in fact, wrong:
CORRECTION BY THE RIGHT HON MEMBER FOR NORMANTON
That this House notes that following remarks made by the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, the right hon. Member for Normanton in Oral Questions in the House on 8 March 2010, Official Report, column 6, where he contested figures provided by the hon. Member for Surrey Heath, concerning the number of students entitled to free school meals being admitted to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the right hon. Member in a letter dated 9 March 2010 to the hon. Member now says that `following our exchange in the House yesterday I have had an opportunity to look in detail at the figures you quoted and I can confirm that they are, on this occasion, correct’.
The correction should have been to the House to the first place rather than in a face-saving private letter.
Harry Cohen has benefited from Guido’s attention in the past. The chippy left-wing MP who disgraces the Leyton parliamentary seat once held by Winston Churchill claimed substantially more for his second home and expenses than any other MP in London, in fact his annual expense claims of £123,718 are £30,000 higher than neighbouring Walthamstow Labour MP Neil Gerrard’s claim of £92,228 and greater than Chingford Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith’s allowance of £104,222.
He claimed “I am almost certainly the most professional MP Leyton and Wanstead has ever had, and that includes Winston Churchill.”
Despite Leyton being a mere half an hour from Westminster on the Central Line tube, Harry Cohen claimed the maximum tax free second home subsidy of £21,63. The Metropolitan Police has begun a criminal inquiry into Harry Cohen, who claimed more than £70,000 for a “second home” while renting out his main property. Perhaps the Met Police might want to investigate other MPs doing the same trick. Guido has asked the question before: where is Gordon’s first home that entitles him to claim a second home allowance?
Gordon lives in grace and favour accomodation in Downing Street, he has use of the grace and favour Chequer’s mansion. He pays nothing in rent or mortgage for those properties. When he married he adroitly gave to Sarah the flat he bought cheaply in dubious circumstances from Robert Maxwell’s estate and Guido understands they now rent it out at a profit. That leaves only his old Fife home. It is clearly his real home, it is the only one he owns. Yet he designates it as his “second home” for expenses purposes.
Social mobility down. Youth unemployment up. One in five state-school leavers functionally illiterate. Prudence, abandoned. Deficit at disastrous levels. Last major country out of recession. Credit rating downgraded. The country is broke. No ending of boom and bust. The lies, […]