Guido has to admire Boris’ cojones this afternoon. Peter Dominiczak reports that the London Mayor has invited Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi to be his guests of honour at Rebecca Adlington’s swimming final on Friday. Apparently Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger was also invited but was “unable to attend“. Might have been slightly awkward.
Wonder what Cameron will think when he sees Rupert, Wendi and Boris on the telly on Friday? It may interfere with his chillaxing.—
Peter Dominiczak (@peterdominiczak) July 31, 2012
Why not bring the kids and make a day of it?
Sources close to Boris tell Guido that they find the Political Scrapbook story about secret meetings between Boris and Murdoch minions, as well as the Great Satan himself, popping up now a little bizarre. Given the details of the “secret meetings” were released into the public domain in summer 2011 following a Freedom of Information request which can still be seen on the Mayor’s website here you can understand why.
Scrapbook claim that it still doesn’t explain why no mention of it on the GLA gifts and hospitality register, that would be because the meeting with Murdoch was Boris dropping in late for a coffee at the end of a meal. Even a billionaire’s coffee should come in at less than the £25 threshold for declarations as per the rules:
“1(a)(viii) Any gifts or hospitality I have received from any person which has an estimated value of £25 or more.”
What about the secret lunch with Will Lewis and Rebekah Brooks? Close to Boris sources say that was nothing to do with him in his capacity as Mayor, that was them trying to lure him away from his Telegraph column to write a column for The Times. It was a private lunch on a Friday afternoon…
What puzzles Guido about Political Scrapbook running a year old story is: Why didn’t they run it in the heat of the election campaign when it might have had a dramatic impact? It is almost as if they didn’t want Ken to win…
Via: Guardian Datablog
Boris spinner Guto Harri is poised to accept a position as Director of Communications at News International on a salary of £250,000-a-year. Guido understands that he promised Boris some weeks ago that he would not accept the position until after the election. Guto is telling the truth when he says he has not signed a contract, he is due to formally sign on with News International next week.
Guido sources at News International say that Sara Argent, currently Head of Operations at the GLA, will also go with him. She is a former CCHQ staffer who worked on the Boris 2008 election campaign.
Guto has also been a name regularly in the frame for a job at Downing Street. If Dave really wants him, he’ll have to move fast…
Months before Labour selected a candidate for Mayor of London, Guido chatted with a senior City Hall Tory politico, asking him who he really preferred to fight; Oona or Ken? Without hesitating he said “Oona so long as Ken stands as an independent again. If not, Ken”. He got his wish…
That was a real fear for Labour. If Ken wasn’t their candidate, he would still be a candidate. The Labour machine could have selected Oona if it really wanted. It didn’t kick into action against his cynically parasitical organisation. Not because Ken outwitted them, it was because they feared a rogue Ken again, be in no doubt that if the Labour establishment and Labour HQ really wanted they could have stopped Ken being their chosen candidate. Implicit blackmail by Ken when Labour was reeling from losing the general election got him the candidacy.
Labour will spin and blame it on a ruthlessly negative Lynton Crosby campaign, and in many ways it was a classic, however it was only workable because Ken has so many negatives to mine. That type of campaign could not have been run against Oona. She is too fresh, too funky London and too centrist. Labour lost London they day they succumbed to Ken’s blackmail.
This morning at his press conference Guido asked Ed Miliband specifically about Ken’s tax avoiding arrangements. Ed Miliband claimed that Boris used a “similar scheme” to that used by Ken – a claim first made by Ken Livingstone himself on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this Sunday. Boris is really not happy to be accused of tax dodging.
This afternoon we asked Boris specifically about his tax arrangements. Here is his angry answer in full:
You have asked about my business affairs and tax arrangements. Specifically do I have any company or other arrangements constructed to enable me to pay less tax and do I, as has been claimed by the Labour Mayoral candidate and the Opposition Leader, have the same arrangements as Labour’s Mayoral candidate.
The answer is simple and unequivocal in both cases. No.
My salary as Mayor is taxed as an employee of the GLA. In the same way as when I was an MP my salary was taxed as an employee. Any other income that I have received from outside endeavours has been received on a self-employed basis, to me as an individual (no company or other structure has been involved). No income earned by me has ever been paid to a “service” company, through which a person or person’s freelance earnings can be channeled so that they pay corporation rather than income tax.
To suggest otherwise is a complete and utter fabrication.
Of course the real point is not about my tax arrangements. It is about the hypocrisy of a man who for years has railed against those who use special arrangements to reduce their tax and who has then been caught – bang to rights – doing the very same thing himself.
Looks like Ed Miliband owes Boris an apology…
The last of the despised killer bendy-buses is off the streets of London and Guido understands that the first new Routemaster will be on the streets next week. Boris actually promised in his manifesto to put the new bus on the road before the end of his first term. There was much scepticism that the cleaner-greener and, according to the experts, most advanced bus in the world, would see the light of day before Boris has to face the voters next year.
It’s an electric bus (it uses a small diesel engine to generate electricity, when it is needed) and is twice as economical as a conventional double decker at 11.6 miles to the gallon compared to the killer bendies 4.5 miles to the gallon. Boris buses following on from Boris bikes are visible signs of success. Cameron, who promised so much in his manifesto, might be a little discomforted by such an eye-catching public service advance.
Boris might not want to go campaigning near Camden Lock for a few weeks. Controversal extra-marital affairs dating agency Ashleymadison.com have found a new face for their service. Testing the all good publicity notion to the extreme…
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Alan Rusbridger opines…
“One thing that Snowden has taught us journalists is that it’s essential to be paranoid.”