Thursday, August 14, 2014

Burnham ‘Owes’ Tax Efficient Lobbyist Aide £20,000

The Times and Mail are on the case of Andy Burnham’s health lobbyist aide Kevin Lee over his tax arrangements, a story Guido broke over two years ago. Readers will remember how back in 2011 this blog revealed how Lee was being paid as Burnham’s spinner not on a normal PAYE contract, but through his company, Lee Communications. Since Labour advisers are paid for by taxpayer-funded ‘Short Money’, this seems particularly creative. And the murkiness doesn’t end there.

When Burnham was Health Secretary, Lee Communications raked in hundreds of thousands of pounds in NHS cash, which is somewhat ironic given Burnham’s apocalyptic warnings about the Tories privatising the health service. Lee also splashed himself all over the internet boasting about his connections with Burnham and his expertise in public affairs. He was a health lobbyist with NHS clients.

As if Burnham employing Lee’s company and giving him a parliamentary pass permitting a health lobbyist access to parliament was not suspicious enough, Lee also “loaned” £20,000 to Burnham’s failed leadership campaign. Burnham has never managed to explain why he gave a lobbyist donor unfettered access to the parliamentary estate. As for that £20,000 loan, did Burnham ever pay it back? Let’s see if he can clear it up once and for all two years on…

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

TAPE: Burnham Brings Back Brown Death Tax

Another day, another mysterious recording of a candid Labour shadow cabinet minister emerges. Andy Burnham has been caught on tape confirming he wants Labour to resurrect a 15% death tax on estates, a policy he drafted before the last election but Gordon Brown was forced to ditch amid a wave of criticism:

“I put that forward before the last election to support a national care service….My personal view is I still think the best way to do it is to go for the solution that you discussed (tax on estates) but there is a debate to be had on whether that is acceptable the public. I think it is….it’s only where you create a system where everyone is in and everyone is then covered, that I think you’ll be able to help people protect their own homes. If you have that system, people would pay 10/15%….you can see where I’m coming from, these are big changes, we’re going to have start with integrating the NHS first but in time I would also like to see the system you describe, I will hope that what we come up with Labour will embrace the full version.”

Not only do Labour want you to pay 40% inheritance tax, they also want a 15% death levy on estates when you die…

Monday, February 17, 2014

How Long Before Burnham Sleeps with the Fishes?

Ed might yet regret not sacking Andy Burnham. Last week the Labour leadership vetoed the Shadow Health secretary’s plan to hand over control of billions of pounds of NHS funding to councils. And, as Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun column, Ed’s allies have slapped down his one-time leadership rival after he threatened to oppose the high-speed rail line that will run through his seat. A Miliband henchman whispers: “If Andy wants to be leader, he better learn about loyalty.”

Which reminded Guido of what Chuka Umunna used to boast: “One of the things Ed has been so clear about is he will not tolerate any of that kind of behaviour. If anybody is found briefing against anybody, you are out – there will be no discussion. That is not the way Ed Miliband’s party does things.” What has Ed done to deserve this disrespect?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Burnham ‘State of the NHS’ Update: Still Exists

In October 2011, Andy Burnham said there were just 72 hours to save the NHS.

In March 2012, he said there were only 24 hours to save it.

Fast forward almost two years, and Burnham is this afternoon giving a speech on “The State of the NHS”. Update: it still exists.

No mention in Burnham’s speech of those who died at Mid-Staffs either, though he does stress the need to “raise the alarm about what is happening in the NHS”. It’s a shame he never did before it was too late…

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

NHS Accuse Burnham of ‘Misreporting Facts For Political Gain’
Senior Official Says Shadow Health Secretary Misled Commons

A senior NHS official has accused Andy Burnham’s office of “misinterpreting and misreporting” evidence about taxis being used as ambulances “in order to present a grossly inaccurate picture for the purposes of apparent political gain”. Ken Wenman, the chief executive of the South Western Ambulance Service, says that Burnham’s team spun a Freedom of Information response from the service to make the stats look worse than they really are. Guido has his damning letter to the Shadow Health Secretary, in which he concludes “I am astonished that anyone would present such misleading information to the House of Commons.”

This is one he couldn’t cover up…

Monday, November 18, 2013

Quote of the Day

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham lies…

“I can’t remember the front bench being as united as it is today.”

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Burnham’s £189,637 Bottled Water Bonanza

Bercow interrupting Cameron just as he was about to slap down Andy Burnham – “I’m not going to take lectures from a govenrment who had patients drinking out of vases” – had the PM properly hitting back at the Speaker. That mooted 1922 letter never came, but the Tories are publicly bashing Bercow again this afternoon.

To be fair to Dave, attacking Labour on Mid Staffs is one of his best lines, so no wonder he was peeved. One that Bercow certainly wouldn’t let go uninterrupted: as neglected patients were forced to drink from vases, Burnham’s department spent £189,637 on bottled water when in government. The champers clearly wasn’t enough…

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tory/Labour Health Tensions Boil Over in PCH

News of fireworks after Health Questions reaches its way back to Guido. Witnesses suggest that neighbouring MPs David Morris (Tory) and John Woodcock (Labour) nearly squared up after Morris walked off of the top of the escalators in Portcullis House. After saying “hello” to Woodcock, it is claimed that Morris was met with the following barrage after he had asked awkward questions to the Health Secretary:

JW: “What you are doing, talking about Morecombe Bay Trust is f**king disgraceful and says more about you as a person… don’t you f**king look at me like that or I will….”

DM: “or you’ll do what? What will you do John..? I think you are a nice guy, and a good man, but it’s my job to look after my constituents.”

JW: “Leave Andy Burnham alone, the electorate will not forgive you for this!”

Morris stands by this version of events, but Woodcock ain’t happy:

“I am very angry at the way David Morris has used infant deaths at Furness General Hospital to call for Andy Burnham’s resignation despite, to my knowledge, showing no other interest in the wellbeing of grieving Barrow families who are continuing to go through a dreadful time. Regrettably, I did use the f- word in telling him I thought he had behaved disgracefully. The other words being attributed to me are untrue and actionable.”

Calm down dears.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Will Ed Bottle Moving Andy?

As Andy Burnham waits to find out whether he will be spared another 18 months of scrutiny for his past sins, Guido reveals in his Sun column that on the day families of Mid Staffs victims launched a national campaign in memory of those who died of neglect, Burnham’s department bought 18 bottles of Charles Lafitte champagne with taxpayers’ money. They were forced to drink water from vases, Burnham’s department drank champagne.

Then the Health Secretary cancelled a meeting arranged with the campaigners at the last minute. Just what was so important that he let down grieving relatives? Burnham’s diary shows he spent that day at a trade union event. Prioritising his union paymasters over the Mid Staffs families so badly let down. And where was he the day the inquiry into the deaths began? Checking into the luxury St. Regis Hotel in Washington DC and enjoying a boozy £431 dinner.

If Miliband does fire Burnham it probably won’t be for the failings at Mid Staffs, nor his department’s taxpayer-funded contempt for families. Miliband knows that whenever you see “Shadow Cabinet sources” attack the Labour leadership in the papers, more often than not they are the words of one of his old rivals for the Labour leadership. Burnham hardly gave his leader a cosy summer either.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tories Call For Burnham to Resign

Some determined FoI-ing from Tory MP Stephen Barclay published in the Mail and the Telegraph today. Email chains from ministers and officials serving in the previous government show how Labour tried to block the release of a report into neglect at NHS hospitals. Barclay is now calling for Burnham to go:

“Labour tried to cover up failing hospitals before the last General Election. Andy Burnham told the House of Commons in July there was no shred of evidence of political interference with the health regulator. But these emails show a clear paper trail of political meddling – leading back to him. He needs to correct his statement when Parliament returns on Monday. Andy Burnham owes a big apology to the patients and families who suffered, and he should resign. No one will ever trust Labour with our hospitals again.”

Which only increases the chances of him staying…


Seen Elsewhere

Multiculturalism: At What Price? | Allison Pearson
Labour Failed Those Victims | Labour Uncut
We Cannot Ignore the Race Issue Here | Dan Hodges
74 MPs Who Back Stop Mills Motion | Speccie
Milibande | Ian Birrell
The True Meaning of Political Correctness Gone Mad | Speccie
Nigel, Nigel, Nigel! | Bloomberg
Bercow Blinks | Guardian
Speaker on the Ropes | Indy
Outgoing Clerk Slams Bercow – Row Goes Very Public | BBC
Darling Was Wrong on OBR | Speccie


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Shaun Wright’s understatement about the Rotherham child abuse scandal…

“..I could have taken more action and probably dealt with this issue better.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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